A slacker wrangles zombies, werewolves, gnomes and gods in this amiable second entry in a humor-horror mashup series (Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, 2010).
Life is looking up for Samhain LaCroix, college dropout, oldies aficionado and former fry-cook. After accidentally killing the evil necromancer Douglas, Sam has inherited his powers, fortune, minions and seat on the Seattle Council of magical beings. On the downside, Sam's new servants hate him, one of his best friends is now a ghost and another a were-bear, his girlfriend's father has just been murdered, and her werewolf pack blames him…and, oh yeah, apparently Douglas isn't completely dead after all. Fans will be happy to revisit the likable characters and learn more about paranormal politics, but those expecting the first book's manic action, grisly violence and sexy romance will be disappointed by the leisurely pace and wistful, almost melancholic tone. Indeed, the plot consists almost entirely of endless and repetitive meetings, leading up to a climactic confab with his erstwhile enemy. While the story stops dead when a few chapters slip into the viewpoints of secondary characters, only important for setting up the (just barely plausible) denouement, Sam's marvelously witty, self-deprecating narration carries readers along effortlessly to the very end.
With most loose plot threads neatly tied off, there is still room for further adventures with Sam and his merry band. After all, they've got rhythm, they've got music, they've got the legions of the undead—who could ask for anything more? (Urban fantasy. 14 & up)