This week starts off our first in reviewing books. Our goal is to have some book reviewers join the team permanently to either re-post reviews they’ve already done or to post new ones in our weekend spots. If you're interested, please contact us.
I’m reviewing Carole Nelson Douglas, who is by no means a new author but was new to me when I discovered her Urban Fantasy series, Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator.
I've read all three books in the series, but will focus today on the first one, Dancing with Werewolves (Juno, October 2007, 394 pages). Here is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say in its starred review:
“While the millennium revelation in this fantastic first of a new paranormal series might not be a shocker for urban fantasy fans—i.e., vampires, werewolves, witches and zombies come out of the closet after Y2K—Douglas (Cat in a Red Hot Rage) handles the premise with such spectacular style, it feels fresh. Delilah Street, who was only 11 in 2000, is now 24 and works for WTCH, a Kansas TV station, as a paranormal investigative reporter. When Delilah angers an undead coworker and is demoted, she moves to Sin City in hopes of finding a possible blood relative seen on CSI Las Vegas V. She gets a job with Hector Nightwine, the show's producer, and falls in love with Ric Montoya, a former FBI agent who finds corpses by dowsing. Douglas spices the action with fabulous characters: Quicksilver, Delilah’s protective dog; CinSims (Cinema Simulacrums), dead celebrities recreated via science and magic; the oldest living vampire in Vegas, once a famous aviator; and Cocaine (aka Snow), a devilish albino rocker. Readers will eagerly await the sequel.”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s written in a first-person, past-tense style, has a strong heroine with a unique background and supernatural skill set. The world building that Ms. Douglas weaves into the story is seamless and well done. I was transported into her Vegas of the near future and loved her new angle on zombies and their potential uses.
She creates a very likable character in Delilah and I found myself drooling over Ric. The romance is a subplot in this book to the action and adventure, and it never overshadows the plot. Every element—be it mystery, fantasy, action or romance—blends well and keeps you turning the page.
Dislikes: I felt the cover, and the ones following in books two and three, fell short and did not represent the excellent storytelling. They looked a little cheesy, and thankfully, the intriguing book jacket was what pulled me in and prompted me to buy.
Book two ramps up the action and starts a story arc that concludes in book three, but I had a hard time getting through the third book. Perhaps it was my own life and the things I’ve had going on, but the direction Ms. Douglas takes the story with the new fantastical elements of an ancient Egyptian culture of vampires living under Vegas since before the pilgrims, left me with too many fantasy angles to juggle and a story that was, at times, hard to follow.
Overall rating on Dancing with Werewolves: 4/5 stars
Overall rating on series: 3.5/5 stars
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Mystery, or Paranormal Suspense. Anyone out there who’s read it? I’d love to hear your take!
Updates: Most all of you following the blog know I've recently obtained representation from agent Kristin Lindstrom. As of Friday, my full MS for Vampire Vacation has been sent to seven New York publishers. I'll keep you posted on the results once I hear something.
Please stop by our excellent contest page for details and new book postings—a new winner is picked every week! In addition, the Wicked Blog is up for nomination in the Author Blog Awards, please click on the link in the right sidebar and vote if you have the time - THANKS!