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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.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Silver Zombie (Delilah Street Bk 4) by Carole Nelson Davis


Silver Zombie is the fourth Delilah Street book. The first book introduced us to a Delilah who was a reporter at her local TV station, reporting on paranormal news items. She moved to Vegas before the first book really got going, and became a paranormal investigator. As we begin the fourth book we learn that everything that has happened in the first three books happened in about two months' time. It felt like at least a year. A lot has happened since she moved to Vegas.

In Silver Zombie Delilah and Ric are headed back to Kansas to learn a little bit about why Delilah has some of her... hang-ups. We see many of the people from earlier books - Delilah, Ric, and Quicksilver, of course. Also Ric's foster mother Helena Troy Burnside, and of course Snow/Christophe has to make an appearance. Cameo's are made by Hector Nightwine, Shez, Grizelle, and Sansouci at the beginning of the book - but they aren't part of any plot in this book and we really could have done without the filler, in my opinion. If the scenes at the beginning of the book were a set up for the next book then they should have been at the end, and could have been a lot less wordy. Too many things happen in the beginning of the book that aren't necessary to the plot of this book... and that made the first half of the book a task instead of an enjoyable read.

Here's the blurb:

Zombies and Witches and Vamps . . . Oh, My!

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—at least that’s Delilah Street’s hope. With Sin City’s vampire and werewolf mobs wanting to cash in her chips once and for all, she’s retreating with her partner Ric Montoya and half-wolfhound Quicksilver to her Kansas birthplace. Unfortunately, when it comes to finding trouble, there’s no place like home. . . .

It doesn’t take long before Delilah realizes she’s not in Vegas anymore. Zombie cowboys and spectral cattle drives are kicking up dust, the local weather girls are total witches who forecast perfect storms, and some Hollywood fanatic is recasting zombies as the greatest stars of the silver screen. And speaking of silver, Delilah’s special affinity for the all-purpose monster-repellent leads her posse straight down a silver brick road—and into a notso- fun house of mirrors—putting her face-to-face with her dicey past and a mystery woman named Lilith, who’s a real dead ringer for Delilah. The key word being dead.

My biggest problem with this story? Pacing. And there were very serious pacing issues. The story rambles and starts and stops and reminisces and doesn't do much of anything for more than half of the book. Once the story gets started it gets better, and the final 20% of the book doesn't lack for action at all. But the first half of the book could have used some serious help.

As for the rest of the writing elements -- the action oriented plot was most excellent once the author actually delved into it. It's really too bad we didn't know more about the main plot until the last ten or fifteen percent of the book - it could have added a lot of interest earlier on. We do know more about the personal-to-Delilah part of the plot earlier, and it's rough, but it explains a good bit about her history. Not enough, but still a decent amount.

The prose and dialogue were mostly okay - this author tends to ramble and be a bit too flowery and retrospective and introspective for me. And considering I usually like those things... right. I liked the story once I reached the end, but the telling of the story occasionally hurt my eyes. Character developmeng is well done, and world building is stellar. I'll also say that the author's use of symbolism is a large part of what makes this series as interesting as it is.

  • Book Rating: Silver Zombie:7 of 10
  • Series Rating:7 of 10

I went back and forth with myself on these ratings. I started out with a six of ten for both book and series, but talked myself up to a seven of ten. The various plots, the characters, the symbolism, the worldbuilding - those things deserve a nine... but the storytelling and the pacing issues scream for a four or five.  Averaged together I came up with a seven.

Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator series:
  1. Dancing with Werewolves
  2. Brimstone Kiss
  3. Vampire Sunrise
  4. Silver Zombie
  5. Virtual Virgin (2011)


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