Publication Date of Book: March 2016
The author of Wish Bound and the Grimm Agency novels returns with an all-new urban fantasy novel! Burying the dead is easy. Keeping them down is difficult.
At the Bureau of Special Investigations, agents encounter all sorts of paranormal evils. So for Agent Brynner Carson, driving a stake through a rampaging three-week-old corpse is par for the course. Except this cadaver is different. It’s talking—and it has a message about his father, Heinrich.
The reanimated stiff delivers an ultimatum written in bloody hieroglyphics, and BSI Senior Analyst Grace Roberts is called in to translate. It seems that Heinrich Carson stole the heart of Ra-Ame, the long-dead god of the Re-Animus. She wants it back. The only problem is Heinrich took the secret of its location to his grave.
With the arrival of Ra-Ame looming and her undead army wreaking havoc, Brynner and Grace must race to find the key to stopping her. It’s a race they can’t afford to lose, but then again, it’s just another day on the job . . .
I have to say that my first impression of Brynner was not a good one. On the first page, he's running away from one of the many women whom he has scorned over the years. I definitely despise annoying male characters that have nothing better to do than use women and have countless one night stands. It became very apparent that this character has a history of womanizing. Hence, he has been banned from getting involved with any female employee of the Bureau. So needless to say, I did not like him and I really hoped the entire book wouldn't focus on a complete douchebag of a character.
Grace Roberts soon enters the picture. She's an awesome female character that's extremely intelligent and a top-notch translator. However, her Bureau translating job doesn't come with a giant paycheck and she's struggling to pay for her disabled child's medical bills, as her ex-husband is not in the picture. She has also heard of the many women-related rumors surrounding Brynner, and although she does think that he is fairly attractive, she does not like him. Besides, she's the complete opposite of Brynner, is extremely level-headed, and an atheist who doesn't believe that any magic exists. Consequently, she places stock in the belief that there is a perfectly logical and scientific reason as to why the Re-Animus exist, and magic isn't the answer.
Grace and Brynner soon cross paths when a Re-Animus appears with a message for Brynner Carson. After Brynner dispatches the Re-Animus's host, Grace is brought in to study the hieroglyphics that it left behind. It turns out that the heart of Ra-Ame is what the Re-Animus are after, and without the heart, their goddess will never be able to reach her full power. The only way to find the heart and prevent an invasion of Re-Animus is to find out where Brynner's diseased father hid it. As a result, Grace is promoted to the position of field operative and tasked with going with Brynner to his aunt and uncle's home in order to translate Brynner's father's journals with the hope that he didn't take the heart's location to his grave.
The world spirals into chaos as more Re-Animus appear, and the body count stacks up. The heart's location is not in the journals, and the Re-Animus are becoming more and more anxious. There is also the slight problem that Grace may be falling in love with Brynner. Now, let me stop right here for a minute. So I already mentioned that Brynner appeared to be a douchebag of a character, but he kind of grew on me. There was a lot more to him than his mistakes, and Nelson conveyed the countless struggles that Brynner faced, along with the fact that he's more of a puppet to the Bureau than a real human being. He's the best at what he does (and he accepts the fact that his job is what he was born to do), he had a terribly traumatic childhood, he saw his mother killed, and his father wasn't the best role model. In truth, Brynner became a character that I eventually grew to love, and his struggles felt so real. I am also glad that Nelson chose to portray Brynner as such a realistic person. He wasn't always that macho man that everyone expected him to be. He experienced an entire spectrum of emotions, had to face the fact that he has limits, and he actually cried...on several occasions. I feel that many authors choose to portray their male protagonists as individuals that don't always feel entirely real. They are often strong and can overcome any obstacle. They also don't show a large range of emotions. And these characters rarely cry, so I commend Nelson for creating Brynner Carson. Plus, Grace is a woman that Brynner respects and doesn't treat as an object. And I love the fact that she doesn't need Brynner's brawn to get out of bad situations, as her intelligence serves her well and she can certainly kick butt.
I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that I didn't see the ending's twist coming! I usually become bored with books when the endings become predictable or blatantly obvious, but I am extremely glad to say that Nelson had me holding my breath when the final twist came. Overall, I loved the book. It was an original, supernatural tale that was by no means stereotypical, and I'm glad it didn't turn into yet another typical zombie novel. I was engrossed and loved it to the very end.
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