Release: December 29, 2009
They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders — but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…Review:
Vicky’s demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that’s taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky’s love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown’s citizens.
But now Vicky’s got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston’s magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she’s the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.
Deadtown is the first in Nancy Holzner's action packed urban fantasy series of the same name. Before starting this series, I feared it would be on the lighter side, which I read but its not my favorite. I'm glad to report that is not the case here! Deadtown is grittier than I expected. Although not exactly dark, this book is a solid UF with all the classic elements.
The main character, Vicky Vaughn, is a Cerddorion shapes shifter. This is a fresh change as I don't think I've read a book with a main character who has these particular abilities. I certainly haven't read anything with Welsh mythology, which is what we get here. Vicky's a good MC, strong and smart and good at kicking ass. She works as a demon exterminator, freeing people from revenge demons, guilt demons, etc. She's a resident of Deadtown, the place where Boston's paranormals reside.
The world building in this book is great. After a plague killed hundreds of people and then brought them back to life as zombies, or "Previously Deceased Humans", all paranormals were outed including vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters (although Vicky is the only one in her area). The government created a kind of a ghetto for them to live in and they are limited on where they can go. The treatment of all the paranormals and the political issues involved made me pity them, for sure.
There is a side plot involving a scientist interested in using paranormals as test subjects that was creepy and very real feeling. Vicky's ten year old niece figures into this side plot and I was sometimes more into this than the main plot.
Speaking of the main plot, it was very well-written and planned out. The Hellion demon that killed Vicky's father when she was younger has returned and Vicky must track him down, figure out what he's doing in Boston, find out how he got through the shield protecting Boston from his demon breed, discover who is pulling the Hellion's strings, and send the Hellion back to hell. It's a lot of work but somebody's got to do it. And Vicky does it well. Although there were occasional moments that faltered a little I really enjoyed this fast paced story. One such falter was basically every scene involving Vicky's teen zombie friend Tina, who is the reason behind a few catastrophes in the story and yet Vicky consistently goes easy on her. I liked Tina, but I think there should have been a little more consequence for all of Tin'a actions in the story, especially her theft of something important of Vicky's that could have led to Vicky's death and the destruction of Boston. Ya know, no biggie...
One area where this book struggled a bit was in the romance department. I wasn't a big fan of Vicky's sort of boyfriend, Kane. But that's okay cause there is a second choice! A human cop named Daniel kind of takes a liking to Vicky and a minor love triangle is in the works. I don't need sex in my UF to make me love it, but I do need those flirty glances or tension filled scenes and those were missing between Vicky and both love interests. The romance may get better as the series goes on, but I'll be reading the next book for the fast paced action and excellent world building instead.
Recommended for fans of: urban fantasy, action filled plot, paranormals creatures, and stories with demons.