City of the Lost by Stephen Blackmoore (Fantasy/Noir, 2012, 224 pages)
City of the Lost might be summed up thusly: funny, dark, sexy, fast.
It’s urban fantasy, I suppose, but with a low-level criminal turned zombie turned unwilling gumshoe as the antihero lead. There’s witches and demons and mysterious, possibly immortal, love interests. There’s heart-munching undead maniacs, powerful sorceresses who really just want to do social work, and a frantic search for one very special talisman. Plus, it’s all set against a gritty, underbelly-ish, crime-ridden L.A. that could be a movie set for the best Noir thriller ever.
There was a lot I loved about this book. First, as the above description suggests, it blends sub-genres very effectively. Second, despite the protagonist, Joe Sunday, being a rather unremarkable thug who turns into a zombie and starts eating dead hookers, he’s likable — very likable. Just try not to root for him, I dare you. Third, City of the Lost tears right along, leaving little time to catch your breath…but just enough that you don’t cast the book aside in a fit of action-sequence-fatigue. Blackmoore’s nailed the tone and is liberal with his twists and turns.
Though it may seem a little dark for your summer beach read, I bet if you give it a chance you won’t be disappointed.