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Dead Heads

Ross Young

Okay so of all the books I’ve read lately (and I got through about three a week lately) this HAS to be my favorite. There’s honestly a few bumps in the beginning but if you stick with the book, the payoff is worth it. It reminds me a bit of the Zombie P.I. series by Kevin Anderson but with the prose of Douglas Adams.

The book starts a bit clunky with every chapter going through a different character, some are important and some aren’t. You don’t really feel into the book until about 12 chapters in (to be fair the chapters are relatively short) that’s when you start to see what characters are going to be the main ones and which ones you can start getting “attached” to. There’s a big cast of characters in this so it’s going to keep jumping around a bit and you may wonder off and on “what’s the point?” and just want to get back to the main characters, but it works out pretty well in the end.

So in the book, we have a crime committed in this weird sort of limbo afterlife called Gloomwood. We don’t really know why people go here and not elsewhere and it’s not really explained but we know they’re not really supposed to know anyone else there. Slightly depressing but Gloomwood isn’t exactly a happy place. The book starts off with the Grime Reaper’s head being stolen and it needs to be found without creating a panic. So the Office of the Dead decides to put a newly dead private eye into the case.

From there we have a crazy cast of characters from a scientist that isn’t always there, dead hopes and dreams wandering around as people, demi-gods, and of course the usual annoyance of bureaucracy even in the afterlife.

With so many characters, a whole new world to build and an intricate plot, sometimes the character depth falls at the wayside. We have “token” characters that you expect to see in a 1950s detective story (the intrepid reporter, the private eye with a haunted past, the meek assistant, and the very talented forensic scientist) but really you’re not reading this book as a monumental literary masterpiece. You’re reading it because it’s fun and funny and you can easily overlook that the characters are one dimensional. They play their role in the story and it’s fine.

What made this book work so well and be so fun for me was not only the plot being ridiculous and funny, but the moments of Douglas Adamsesque insight where we’d get those fun little snippets that could have easily found their place in Hitchhiker’s Guide if they ever traversed to Gloomwood.

The writing was good the whole plot at the end was a little weird and I’m not quite sure it makes sense as a motivation. And the character twist at the end seemed to serve no other purpose than to just add a twist. The story would have been exactly the same with or without it. But again, I so didn’t care at that point, I was just having fun with the characters and the story.

I love the opening for the next book too and I think it will be great fun and reminds me a bit of one of my favorite episodes of Supernatural so it should be really interesting to see how this series moves forward. I’m ready and waiting!!

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