Early Review: Deadtown by Nancy Holzner

December 14, 2009 Review 11


Book Description: 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…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 releases on December 29th* Victory Vaughn is a shapeshifting professional demon hunter living in Boston’s mandatory ‘paranormal reservation’ known as Deadtown.  In Deadtown, things that go bump in the night (werewolves, vampires etc.) have always been around but the world at large has only just learned of their existence.  And the coming out process has been anything but smooth.  Zombies, or Previously Deceased Humans, are a different story.  A few years ago a plague hit Boston instantly killing a couple hundred thousand people and then reanimating them a la Night of the Living Dead (except without all the mindless “Brains!  Must eat brains!” mantra). The initial happiness of the living having their loved ones back from the dead didn’t last long. Blood red eyes, green/gray flesh in varying levels of decay, and a tendency to go a bit stereotypically zombie around fresh blood will put a damper on even the most open-minded human.  The result? Deadtown was created, the only legal place for the non-human monsters, or Paranormal Americans, to reside.

It would be easy to devote this whole review to the fantastic world-building of Deadtown (but don’t worry, I won’t). I will only add how easily the treatment of Deadtown’s Paranormal Americans compares with our own past treatment of Native Americans, Japanese Americans, and African Americans during different periods of our country’s history.

The main plot begins when Vicky is forcibly dragged from her bed by Boston’s Human-Paranormal Joint Task Force, aka the Goon Squad, to answer questions about the death of one of her former clients who was fried in his own skin, a method Vicky is intimately familiar with.  The Hellion responsible has impossibly broken through the magical shield protecting the city and Vicky knows that time is running out.  If she doesn’t kill the demon soon, Boston will be destroyed. Meanwhile there is a criminally aggressive research facility trying to study shapeshifters, willingly or otherwise, and a pivotal election is just days away, and if the wrong candidate wins, it will be open season on PA’s.

For those of us who like a dash of romance, Deadtown doesn’t disappoint. Vicky has not one but two men vying for her affections. Her sometimes boyfriend Kane, is a werewolf lawyer single-minded in his fight to gain equal rights for all PA’s, and Daniel Costello, the homicide detective in charge of the murder of Vicky’s former client. Suffice it to say these two don’t get along. The romantic elements of this story never overwhelm the main plot of the book, they are similarly subtle like the Mercy Thompson series, but they do add another level of depth and humanity to Vicky.

Deadtown is a welcome addition to the urban fantasy landscape. Nancy imbues an emotional aspect into her debut that resonates with our own past prejudices and fears and forces us to evaluate our beliefs about this unreal world in a very real way. There is a lot of great action, social commentary, and a dash of romance in Deadtown. The world building, borrowing heavily from Welsh mythology, is fresh and complex. Vicky is instantly likable and realistically tough yet vulnerable. And I can’t wait to read more. *Deadtown releases on December 29th*

Sexual Content:

Click HERE to read an excerpt of Deadtown

Disclosure: I received this book for review courtesy of Penguin books

Product Details

  • image Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (December 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441018130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441018130

Disagree with my review?  Email me your review for this or any other book I reviewed and I might use it for 2nd Opinion Review

11 Responses to “Early Review: Deadtown by Nancy Holzner”

  1. Mandi

    I really enjoyed this one..I kind of wished for a bit more sexual tension, but she does build a great world and I loved Vicky!

  2. SciFiGuy

    Just read the end of your review. I'll come back after I've finished the book and posted my review. I've really been looking forward to this one.