Nancy’s Holzner’s Deadtown is not just another tale about a sexy demon fighter in leather pants (although the cover does feature pretty cool cover art of our hunter in leather pants, brandishing a smoking semi-automatic rifle and a flaming sword).
Like the vampires in Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series and the mutants of the X-men, the assortment of paranormals in Holzner’s world are struggling for equal rights.
Ever since a virus turned a large chunk of the city’s population into zombies (or “previously deceased humans” as they’re known in politically correct circles), life in Boston has changed dramatically. The zombies, and the paranormals who emerged to deal with them when the humans could not, are now quarantined in a part of Boston nicknamed Deadtown, where only those with permits are allowed to leave – and even then under strict conditions.
Among them is Vicky, a shape-shifter, who makes a living hunting demons. She shares an apartment with a centuries old vampire, occasionally goes bump in the night with a white collar werewolf, and is shadowed by an annoying teenage zombie who wants to be a slayer.
She also has a creepy geneticist trying to turn her into a lab experiment, a sister ashamed of their shape-shifting bloodline, and a nasty hellion out for her blood. It’s a complicated and occasionally frustrating life.
Almost as frustrating are the politics the paranormals’ presence has created, which have a habit of interfering with Vicky’s love life. Her workaholic werewolf’s role as a lawyer/paranormal rights activist has turned him into a political animal (the scariest beast around…), and an upcoming election has him fully pre-occupied.
Deadtown has enough action, wit and snappy dialogue to stand out from the crowd and Holzner has created a world that’s cleverly and logically constructed, complete with politics and social agendas.
The author is already busy working on a sequel, and given the warm reception this book has already received online, there’s clearly an eager audience waiting for the next instalment.
(I had to order this in specially at my local bookstore, so let’s hope Deadtown gets the exposure it deserves here in Australia.)