Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Deader Still: by Anton Strout



It’s been 737 days since the Department of Extraordinary Affairs’ last vampire incursion, but that streak appears to have ended when a boat full of dead lawyers is found in the Hudson River. Using the power of psychometry—the ability to divine the history of an object by touching it—agent Simon Canderous discovers that the booze cruise was crashed by something that sucked all the blood out of the litigators. Now, his workday may never end—until his life does.


I liked the idea of a government facility being used to hunt down and solve supernatural problems, but I felt the sequel to Dead to Me just didn’t live up to its predecessor.

Strout continues the jokes on having to put in mountains of paperwork for even the smallest issue, but he fails to add anything new to the series to make this book anything other than a copy of the first book with a different adventure. And while that works for some series, I felt the jokes were stale by the time I read this sequel.

One of my only real gripes about Dead to Me was the character development, or lack their of. Deader Still continues this problem. While I did find some of the characters had been improved, such as Connor and Simon, many still irked me, such as the annoying girlfriend Jane. I didn’t like her in the first book and I don’t like her in the second. But the saddest thing about this was that there was no further character development. While Strout is improving his writing, it seems he’s only improving his characters between books, and not having them grow during the books at all.

That said Strout did try to make this book better than Dead to Me. For starters Strout improved the plot in Deader Still in comparison to Dead To Me. He did this by introducing aspects of Simon’s old life as a criminal, and by having these people blackmail him into working for them one last time. This balancing act that Simon has to endure between his job, his recently procured position as a FOGie, and his old life lead to some interesting situations that do make the book more interesting, but still overall it just doesn’t cut it as a good book.

But the worst part of the book had to be the power’s used in it. Connor’s power’s are never described to their full extent, and because of this barely seem like powers at all. Jane’s power’s seem ridiculously powerful for someone who had no idea she had them. And Simon’s powers are just plain boring. There are only so many things you can do with feeling the past with your hands, and I feel Strout has used them all by now. Besides this the evil they face seem so much more organized and powerful than them, and it just seems odd this band of semi-untrained people can bring them down.

All this adds up to one thing, boring powers + lack of character development = not that interesting of a book. Because of this I would say stay away from this book for a while. I think Strout can improve his writing, but until that time just read something else.


3.5 out of 10


Publisher: Ace

Published: February 24, 2009

Price: $7.99

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