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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Roadkill (Cal Leandros, Book 5) by Rob Thurman

The Cal Leandros series has not been one of my favorites in the past. After Deathwish I rated the series a 6 of 10. Even at that low of a rating, I've continued to read it, because I've enjoyed the worldbuilding, the clever use of old mythologies, the closeness of the brothers... though there were problems that bugged me.

But Roadkill? Oh. My. Goodness. This is the best book, by far, of the series. I laughed - a Lot. I cried a little. And there were philosophical points that I read and re-read and allowed to soak into my psyche.

Oh, and there was a plot, and an adventure or two (or three) along the way.

The weird thing? I read some of the book while at my daughter's dance class. And there was a 13 year old talking about Flowers for Algernon, right while I was reading the parts of Roadkill that... well... there are parallels. I stopped reading and talked to her for a bit, even showed her that my book had mentioned the book she was reading. She thought that pretty cool, though she looked at me strange when I started talking about werewolves. Her definition of werewolves is defined by Twilight at this point in her life.

But I hated Flowers for Algernon when I first read it, because I couldn't stop crying. I cried for days after I read that book. I think I was 8 or 9, and I just wasn't emotionally ready for it. I still can't read it without going into a depressed funk. Thankfully Roadkill didn't affect me quite so dramatically, there were some tears and sniffles and I needed to blow my nose a few times, but now that I've finished the book, I'm good.

Cal and Niko and Robin are back, and we get Rafferty the healer along with his cousin Catcher. And as you can tell from the cover, Delilah plays a decent part as well. We do not see Promise, or Georgie. Promise does at least get a mention, but George does not.

The dialogue and prose in Roadkill is excellent. Roadkill is written so well that it would be interesting without a plot. If you enjoy Dexter then you'll enjoy the Cal in this book, the thoughts that run through his head are laugh out loud funny at times. I've complained in the past about this series being too dark even for a dark fantasy, but Roadkill has enough humor and lightness to keep the darkness from being so overpowering.

Here is the official blurb:

Niko could have died because of her. I don't forget things like that...not ever. I wanted a little payback for those she'd cheated in the past. For those she'd cheat in the future. For what she'd allowed to happen to my brother.

For good old fashion revenge.

Once, while half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko were working on a case, an ancient gypsy queen gave them a good old-fashioned backstabbing. They barely made it out alive. Now, as their P.I. business teeters on insolvency, guess who shows up with a job?

The gypsy crone wants them to find a stolen coffin. Cal would rather help her into one, but this coffin contains an evil known as the Plague of the World--and it makes the Black Death seem like a fond memory.

But the thief has already left town, so the Leandros brothers are going on the road. And if they're very, very lucky, there might even be a return trip...

I'm going to give Roadkill a 10 of 10, and I'll raise the series to an 8 of 10.

Book Rating: Roadkill:  10 of 10
Series Rating: Cal Leandros series: 8 of 10

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