Kevin J. Anderson kicks off his new Urban Fantasy series with Death Warmed Over. Featuring Dan Chambeaux (aka “Shamble"), this private investigator, who returned from the grave as a zombie, takes on the cases of other recently turned paranormal creatures. From a witch looking to sue a publishing company for a spell gone wrong to a vampire being threatened by a dangerous anti-paranormal gang, Anderson’s hilarious, lighthearted tale blends paranormal fiction with hardboiled detective stories to give a unique look at some of the issues that might occur should supernatural creatures populate our world. Today RT’s Elisa and Janine crack open this new tale and discuss why Death Warmed Over is a must-read.
Janine: Honestly, I was a little skeptical when I read the description of Death Warmed Over. Another paranormal investigator story? I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go down this road again ...
Elisa: Oh, yes you did. Of course you did. Because if I know you, you just cannot say no to this author.
Janine: Yes, yes ok, it’s Kevin J. Anderson, so you bet your butt I was going to give this book a shot.
Elisa: And I’m so glad you did! Cue my “I told you so” singsong voice.
Janine: I know Anderson from his work in sci fi, from Star Wars and Dune tie-in novels to graphic novels and original stories.
Elisa: Heck this guy even just released a book co-written with Rush drummer Neil Peart!
Janine: He certainly has his hands in a lot of cookie jars, which is why I wasn’t surprised to see him tackle another genre with his new Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series.
Elisa: Genre? As in singular? Oh no, this story cannot be contained by just one genre.
Janine: The book is distinctly paranormal, but differs from your run of the mill paranormal investigator story because Anderson doesn’t bring readers into his fictional world, he brings fictional characters into our world.
Elisa: The noir-y feel of this hybrid paranormal-mystery story definitely gives it the realism that makes Anderson’s worldbuilding entirely believable.
Janine: I can totally picture him asking himself “I wonder what would happen if, in a world of humans and supernaturals, what would happen if inaccurate spell books were printed. Would a lawsuit against the publisher hold up in court?”
Elisa: And that’s exactly where Dan Chambeaux comes in. To help answer the hard questions.
Janine: And he’s not alone. Partnered with his human lawyer friend Robin Deyer, the two are determined to bring well-deserved justice to the paranormal world that the court systems haven’t yet adapted to.
Elisa: Dan was a typical human PI who, after being murdered by an unknown attacker, returned as a zombie.
Janine: He’s not only determined to solve his own murder, but is also committed to helping out the other supernaturals that have been inhabiting his city after the Big Uneasy a completely random event involving the Necronomicon that caused all of the ghouls, ghosts, goblins, vampires, trolls and countless undead creatures to find their way into our world.
Elisa: Which presents humans with a bit of a problem. How do we adapt our laws, media, stores, and other establishments to cater to these dozens of new species?
Janine: Many of whom we already know! Your grandpa died? Well, don’t worry, because there’s a pretty good chance he might come back as a ghost or a zombie.
Elisa: But this isn’t a problem for Chambeaux & Deyer, who have plenty of interesting cases to solve.
Janine: Quite enterprising of them!
Elisa: One thing I loved about this story was that the series starter didn’t just have one or two big cases, there were several, and we got to meet some of Shamble's very interesting clients.
Janine: Oh, yes. First there’s Sheldon the lonely, fretful vampire who believes someone is terrorizing him and his fellow vampire neighbors and leaving hateful slurs graffitied around his neighborhood.
Elisa: Sheldon is definitely an oddball, even for a vampire. My favorite clients were the Wannovich sisters — two witches who find themselves in a mess after they use a spell book riddled with typos.
Janine: For humans, this might not be such a disastrous thing.
Elisa: But when Mavis Wannovich conjures one of the spells, she turns her sister Alma into a pig. With no easy way to transform her back, the sisters seek justice from the publisher for their error. The best part? Alma takes quite a liking to Dan ...
Janine: My favorite has to be Ramen Ho-Tep, the former Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt whose preserved body finds its way to one of the city’s history museums.
Elisa: When the mummy returns from the dead, he turns to Chambeaux & Deyer for help in filing lawsuit against the museum to determine whether or not he is the museum’s property or his own free person.
Janine: Were you surprised of the litigious nature of the undead?
Elisa: Considering the problems that they face, not at all. There is no reason to believe that these would not be totally plausible situations.
Janine: You’re nuts.
Elisa: Maybe, but no more nuts than the fact that Dan Shamble’s clients have an interesting connection ...
Janine: That’s right! Harvey Jekyll, the head of Jekyll Lifestyle Products and Neroceuticals, sells hygiene products for zombies and other less-than-fresh undead creatures. Shamble begins digging deeper into the crimes that have been occurring around town and he discovers that Jekyll may be involved in a lot more than selling deodorant.
Elisa: But more important, Dan Shamble just might be able to solve one of his most pressing cases.
Janine: His own murder!
Elisa: But to find out, you’ll have to get your own copy of Death Warmed Over.
Janine: Because I am not sharing mine!
You can pick up a copy of Death Warmed Over, available in stores now. Stop by next week when RT staffers will be Dishing about another great read!