Monday, April 9, 2012

Reclaiming the Dead by James Patrick Brotherton

In the small town of Keating, Iowa, the surname Daniels is synonymous with insanity. Recently dumped by his girlfriend and fired from his job, Merton Daniels has been reduced to crashing on a friend’s couch and visiting a blood center to exchange his plasma for cash. Awakened from an unintentional drunken stupor by a voice in his head calling his name, Merton finds a myste< rious card tucked under his arm. A subsequent meeting with a beleaguered bureaucrat sets Merton, along with his chattering roommate, Coaler, on an unsupervised apprenticeship in the finer points of reclaiming the dead: slaying vampires. While Merton combats delusions and an inner voice that hounds him with a relentlessness that exceeds even that of his undead adversaries, the novel tracks a thought-provoking mythology of the undead in Judas Iscariot, a shape-shifting and blood-thirsty creature who was reborn when the boundary between life and death was still convulsing. Resonant with existential echoes of Sartre and Salinger, and a singular sense of humor that recalls Vonnegut and Palahniuk, Reclaiming the Dead is an infectious and inventive tale that stands the vampire fantasy genre on its ear with a literate and sophisticated story of modern life and redemption.

This book surprised me in so many ways. I really expected it to be much more the usual vampire fare, but instead I got to read a wonderfully written, unique book, with, yes, vampires.

The main character, Merton, is what really pulls this book together. I loved the transition his character goes through, the depth in change, of every sort, that he struggles with. It is wonderful to see characters that really progress, that end the book different than when they started it. That’s what makes a character stand out. Coaler, his “side-kick”, was hilarious and a nice foil to our protagonist.
What I liked the most, however, was the book’s middle section. This is where the author really shows his colors, with beautiful, moving prose that rings of truth. I found myself wide-eyed, waiting to see what would come next throughout this whole section. The pacing was really well done.

The whole book was very entertaining to read. As this is an indie book, it makes you wonder why these kind of stories don’t make it into the world at large when so many other, less well written, less intelligent ones do. I can highly recommend it, and I’ll definitely be looking for this author’s next book.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this. I am definitely adding this to my TBR shelf. It just looks so intriguing. =)