SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1598 City of the Lost, by Stephen Blackmoore Book Review |

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City of the Lost, by Stephen Blackmoore
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Daw
Published: 2012
Review Posted: 10/9/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

City of the Lost, by Stephen Blackmoore

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

This is the debut novel for Stephen Blackmoore and I dare say it won't be his last. City of the Lost is being described a detective noir with zombies by some. I haven't read much noir detective fiction, so I can't and won't on whether it fits that bill, but I can comment on it as an urban fantasy with a rather hardcore "detective" as the main character . . . who just happens to become a zombie.

The premise is that Joe Sunday is a thug, hired to break legs for his mobster/hoodster boss, Simon.Simon hires some cronies to steal a strange stone, but the cronies all end up dead, so Simon sends Joe to take out the man Simon thinks did it and stole the stone. Joe thinks it's a run-of-the-mill job, until he ends up dead . . . and is brought back to life by the man he was supposed to kill using the stone. Now, in order to keep from rotting and eating people's hearts to rejuvenate himself, Joe needs the stone. With it, he won't need to kill to stay in one piece. All he has to do is find it and keep his hands on it, which is harder than it seems since it appears everyone with any magical talent whatsoever in the LA area is out to get it.

I like the idea of the book, and enjoyed the combination of urban fantasy and mystery elements. Joe Sunday isn't someone that you'd normally empathize with, but you do in the end. The novel is dark and brutal, which you'd expect from someone who is essentially a hitman. Joe doesn't waste time when violence is necessary, and he isn't afraid to hurt people to get what he wants. So the book is violent, with its fair share of blood and guts. In general, there is no blurring of the details for these scenes, although it isn't gratuitous in any way.(For example, when Joe's new urges for hearts rears its ugly head, the hardcore reality of what he's doing is skipped over and left to the imagination.)But it's still pretty dark.

There's a large slew of rather interesting characters after the stone as well, which certainly gave the book a unique flavor. A few of them were over-the-top, but you need a good cast of characters to keep the waters of the mystery itself muddy and Stephen Blackmoore does that well. By the time the real mystery begins to unravel and play out, you can see how all of the threads are coming together, including all of the things you should have noticed as you were reading (the answers to all the questions you should have asked along the way now obvious).

So, a good mystery novel wrapped around a believable zombie origin story.For those who cringe from blood and violence, this is not your book, although I didn't think what's in here was gratuitous or over-the-top. It's a dark novel, with dark characters, but certainly a novel I'd recommend for those who enjoy a good, bloody zombie book. I'm not certain there's a sequel planned, but I'd buy it when it comes out, just to see what Joe Sunday does now that he's undead.
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