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Skeleton Crew by Cameron Haley
Review by Mel Jacob
Luna Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780373803262
Date: 19 April 2011 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

A gritty urban fantasy set in gangland L.A., Skeleton Crew continues the saga of Domino Riley, a powerful witch and leader of a major street gang. When zombies begin to take over L.A. streets, Domino is determined to stop the plague. She already has to contend with a rival gang invading her turf. That battle escalates when the rival gang lord enlists a demon to fight on his side. It takes the combined efforts of Domino, Adan (her boss's son), and Oberon, king of the sidhe, to defeat the demon. Unfortunately, another may be lurking in the wings.

A pastiche of Celtic and Mexican myths overlaid with street gangs offers a heady and sometimes confusing mix. Domino's wide list of acquaintances with special abilities has her going from person to person and making bargains to ensure their cooperation, a bit like “The House That Jack Built”.

Once dead and unable to reach Between, a place inhabited by ghosts and others, zombies become ravenous and kill humans by eating them and thus creating more zombies. Even the government's special psychic force can't stop the plague. Their solution is to bomb L.A.

Domino has the power to travel to the Between. She also has a weapon, Wyatt Earp's gun, said to be cursed, that she uses to kill ghosts and other Between inhabitants. For some reason the spirits of the dead cannot cross to Between because whatever mechanism or creature made that possible no longer operates. To stop the zombies, she has to restore the normal balance.

The novel ends without revealing how Domino fulfills all the bargains she has made. The war between gangs continues, but without demons and zombies. Haley leaves room for more adventures featuring her and Adan.

Haley's first novel about Domino, Mob Rules, received plenty of praise; however, the street language may offend some. He leaves plenty of scope for more adventures. It has some similarities to other books where magic, the sidhe, and demons again join the real world such as Mark Chadbourn's trilogy the Age of Misrule, but the L.A. settings of Skeleton Crew are different.

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