fiction / Mystery / Review

Review: The Private Shambler

Death warmed overIt’s been a hectic couple of weeks. I skipped out of writing a review last week partly because of my schedule, and partly because I hadn’t finished anything recently. Well, this week I did finish a nice, light, funny book. With Zombies… and vampires, and ghosts, and pretty much anything else Kevin J Anderson could think of to throw into the Unnatural Quarter for the private detective he’d created to interact with.

Death Warmed Over is the tale of Dan Shamble, PI. Along with his human lawyer partner Robin, and ghostly girlfriend and receptionist, he’s the man  zombie unnatural beings turn to when they are afraid the human system will let them down. Dan’s life is complicated not only by the heavy caseload this creates, but by trying to solve his own murder that happened not long before the events of the book unfold.

I enjoyed this. The humor is laid on with a trowel in places, but in others it got me chuckling. There are some truly BAD jokes batted back and forth between Shamble and his human cop friend McGoo, and puns are here, don’t say I didn’t warn you. The mystery itself unfolds slowly, as Dan is trying to help others before he helps himself. I knew who the bad guy was, but I didn’t expect *quite* the twist Anderson put on him at the end, there. I will say I would have liked a little more complexity here, perhaps three or four threads rather than knitting it all up neatly together. But then again, I read rather a lot of mystery, and that’s not really what this book is. More like a cozy, only with goo and slime.

I like the characters in this. I feel a little exasperation toward Robin, but Dan’s affection for her kept me going. I really liked the mummy, and the witch sisters, and McGoo. Anderson builds a complex cast well, leaving them fully-fleshed out (yes, even Ramen Ho-Tep) in my mind. If you’re looking for something that isn’t demanding to read, might make you laugh (or groan, as befitting an unnatural) then this is a good choice. I keep saying I’m not going to read zombie/werewolf/vampire books, but then… this one is different!

Click on the little cover icon to buy, or read the sample.

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