Title: Medium Dead
Author: Chris Dolley
Page Count: 474 KB (Kindle format)
Publisher: Book View Cafe
Genre: urban fantasy
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review
Medium Dead is a fun urban fantasy chronicling the crime fighting adventures of Brenda – a reluctant medium – and Brian – a Vigilante Demon with an impish sense of humour. Think Stephanie Plum with magic and a dash of Carl Hiaasen.
Brenda Steele is smart, funny and out of her depth. A Vigilante Demon called Brian wants her to find murdered spirits and help him track down their killers. But Brian doesn't just catch criminals, he likes to play with them first, and make the punishment fit the crime. As he tells Brenda, “if all you did was turn up, capture the bad guy then leave – century after century – you'd die of boredom.”
He's also reckless – his last partner died during one of his takedowns.
Along the way, Brenda discovers that Brian isn't as old, or as powerful, as he led her to believe. He might even be human. Whereas the murderer they're hunting, and the child he's holding prisoner, might not.
Chris Dolley's writing is nothing if not multifaceted. I've read a couple of his books now, and each one is a different experience from the previous ones and yet the same silliness and humor is present in all of them. Medium Dead is different from his previous offerings in that the writing is grittier and the details more explicit- I wouldn't think that whole Vengeance Demon thing would be like reading a Little Golden Book, but there you are, but there are threads of comedy running through this story even at its darkest times.
You have to love when quotable quotes jump off the page at you on the first page, and that's what happened here:
And all through that the ghost hadn’t said a word. Even when Celeste, who last week had become a lesbian, discovered that Geraldine, her new partner, was actually her father – who’d had to have a sex change ten years earlier when he’d been forced into the witness protection program following his wife’s murder by the albino Mafia. Or was that the Albanian Mafia? It was difficult to tell in the excitement. Celeste was screaming so loud, and Brenda’s coffee had gone down the wrong way.
Brenda's life is kind of circling the drain when we first meet her at the opening of the book. She's going nowhere in a hurry and trying to piece her emotional existence back together and life just deals her blow after blow and it's all she can do to not blow away in the storm. In walks Brian, and he proceeds to upset her existence more than any other drama in her past could ever hope to.
Brian is kind of like a real life bull in a china shop. He's completely focused on his goals at all times and oftentimes doesn't think about how anything he does will affect anyone, himself included. He's on a quest to avenge people who've been wronged with as much pizzazz as he can manage, and that's all that he cares about. This leads to a lot of Monty Python esque antics between him and Brenda, since her life was sedate to say the least before Hurricane Brian blew into town.
I have to say that personally it was the Python-esque antics that kept me entertained throughout the book, to the point that they kind of overshadowed the whole catching the super bad guy element. This is a book that toed the line between dark comedy and something more serious; for me it came down more squarely on the comedy side, but for others I can see the action taking precedence and the comedy seeming to come in second place. Neither scenario is bad, it just reflects a difference of opinion for readers.
Chris Dolley has offered up digital copies of Medium Dead and another of his books, An Unsafe Pair of Hands, to one lucky winner here at What Book is That?! This is a winner take all giveaway, so one person will win both books! To enter, just fill out the Google form below. Easy!