Perhaps the biggest surprise was that it took Kevin J. Anderson, sci-fi journeyman and acclaimed author of numerous Star Wars novels so long to jump on the bandwagon.
But it might have been worth the wait -- his DAN SHAMBLE series is a hoot, a tongue-in-decaying-cheek romp that puts most of the other recent zombie P.I. series to shame, and exposes them for the po-faced, unimaginative mash-ups they are. But it's the humour and downright humanity that brings it all home here. Dan may be dead, but he's just a working stiff, really.
And naturally his first real case is detailed in his 2012 debut, Death Warmed Over, where he sets out to discover who killed him ("although paying clients have to take priority," he assures us).
He's the detective half of Chambeaux and Deyer Investigation, and works the Unnatural Quarter, a neighbourhood where, ever since the catalclymatic events known as the Big Uneasy, the streets are filled with therapy-bound vampires, sweatshop golems, werewolve hitmen, souvenir-hawking necromancers and ghost girlfriends.
Dan's partner, attorney Robin Deyer, presents a human face to the world, but it's Dan who does the real leg work, retreiving stolen paintings on behalf of dead painters, investigate a werewolf divorcee's ex, looking into a case of discrimination against a mixed race (werewolf/vampire) couple and the like.
Since the Big Uneasy, the dead may walk the earth, but they're still tragically -- and often hilariously -- human.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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