by Tate Hallaway
Cover Artist: Blake Morrow
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425247792
Date: 07 August 2012 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Alex Connor moved to Pierre, South Dakota, as part of her therapy to put her past behind her. She'd believed her stepmother was a demon and her boyfriend, Valentine, assisted her in trying to get rid of the demon. Valentine ended up in prison and Alex in a mental institution. As you can imagine, she was thrilled to get a job as the Hughes County coroner/medical examiner.
It looked like the job wouldn't be too stressful and she had enough knowledge to handle the basics. Then she had her first body almost as soon as she got settled in. The police officers gave a rather cryptic warning to be careful with the corpse, as if she wouldn't be. But when in the middle of the autopsy, the corpse got up, grabbed his liver from the scale, and walked out, Alex didn't know what to do. Were her meds off? Was she hallucinating? Were her mental problems coming back?
The corpse was missing and she couldn't deny that fact -- she had the paper work and the photos. So, she reported it to the chief of police. Surprisingly he believed her, or at least didn't laugh, and sent her to Precinct 13.
Precinct 13 looked like an abandoned building, but she persisted in knocking and banging on the door until someone answered. What she found was a special branch that dealt with strange cases such as her walking corpse. Again they accepted her story, and looked at her photos of the corpse. Before she knew what was happening she was part of the team looking for the walking corpse and trying to solve some related supernatural problems.
Alex was at first resistant to the fact that these people accepted as fact the existence of demons, dragons, witches, fairies, and golems among other things. After all, she'd just spent years in therapy because she thought her stepmother was a demon -- while the members of Precinct 13 just agreed to send someone to check on her father. Then Valentine got out of prison and joined her in Pierre.
Things were starting to look much better now that Alex didn't have to worry that she was crazy. Knowing what you see and feel is real makes it a lot easier to deal with walking corpses, fairy rings, golems, warlocks, dragons, and magic users who want to tip the balance to gain more power for themselves.
The characters are vivid and the plot moves along at a good pace. There's plenty of humor to liven things up. While the outcome may be obvious to some readers, the journey is well worth it.