Friday, January 22, 2010

Dead Matter-Anton Strout

Dead Matter
Anton Strout
Ace, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441018444

In an alternate world where supernatural species are known to exist, organizations formed like the Department of Extraordinary Affairs to keep the human population safe. One of the DEA Agents Simon Canderous is working without his partner and mentor Connor Christos who is on vacation; having accumulated five years worth. Simon’s gift is psychometry while his girlfriend Jane’s is technonomy (bending electricity and machines to her will). They are together when they see a creature who they fail to capture and these creatures have been seen all over New York.

Chased by spirits into a graveyard, Simon and Jane find Connor in a horrific state. He explains that each night he dreams about his brother Aiden who went missing two decades ago. The pair believes Connor is seeing his sibling at his window so they stake out the place. They find someone spying on Connor and follow him into the Gibbon-Case building where vampire lives in a castle surrounded by a forest within the edifice. There the two brothers reunite while the odd edifice subsumes Jane. Determined to get her back, Simon turns to the lead vampire Brandon for help. Attempts are made on the lives of Connor and Simon. Brandon believes Simon is the prophesized one to bring peace between humans and vampires, but traitors amongst his army want war as does a rabid anti-vampire DEA operative. Hell is about to break out in Manhattan.

Anton Stout provides an entertaining and hypnotic police procedural urban fantasy filled with action inside a somewhat thin plot but loaded with deep characterizations who drive the story line forward. The protagonist has come a long way since his Deader Still escapades as he has learned vampires like humans are good and bad. His job is to ferret out the evil one, but that proves seemingly impossible. Watching the brothers unite is heartwarming yet the audience wonders whether that will turn heart-wrenching as those involved pray the species become friends, but settle for not being enemies for now; that is if they survive their ordeal.

Harriet Klausner

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