Book back covers are like trailers to me. I love taking a look at them even if I don’t plan to read the book. The reason I love them so much is that I can’t fathom how hard it is to fit a synopsis of a novel compelling enough to attach a new reader without giving away too much of the book at the same time. In essence, it is a telemarketer cold call, and just like those calls everything has to be perfect in order to make the sale. We see it fail all the time in movie trailers; it is already cliché to say "all the best jokes were in the trailer". Just substitute jokes with action scene, plot twist etc and you could cover every major movie release of the past couple of years. Yet, the most disappoint is when the back covers do not live up to the expectations that they create. In my eyes it’s a bit of false advertising, or a bait and switch.
While Dead Man’s Boots doesn’t fall all the way to this level, I am sorry to say that my expectations were severely inflated from the back cover. I am a huge fan of the very popular fantasy series by Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files and in my mind comparing yourself to the hugely successful books brings about certain expectation on what I am going to read. Before I go any further let me say that the author Mike Carey, is a well know and celebrated writer for a number of Comic Books including many that I am a fan of such as Hellblazer . He hails from the UK and most if not all his characters are British as well.
In Dead Man’s Boots , Great Britain figures in largely in the novel as well as the British sense of humor and mentality. So when I started in the book, I felt that I was reading the equivalent a BBC movie or show…in essence I was bored. Again this can definitely be due to some things just being lost in translation. As I currently am in a business trip in the UK while I write this review the effect of the cultural different are even more apparent. Remember that the USA mentality is "I want it now" in turn in the UK it is "good things come to those who wait" while this is a broad generalization and in fact may not even be true for all parties involved it still doesn’t change the way I feel.
Dean Man’s Boots is the third in a series starring the Ghosthunter/buster/exorcist Felix Caster. Having not read the books from the beginning I felt that I was in catch up mode with what had gone on in the past. Mentions of demons, possessions, zombies and succubi and their relationship with Castor was spread about the book, but without enough detail that I was able to fully figure it all out. This turned out to be a distraction for me as book focuses a good amount of the plot on the relationships of the characters as the main motivation for most of the action in the book.
The plot of the story follows Castor as he goes to the funeral of a colleague/friend that committed suicide he finds that that his friend had been working on something big (aren’t they all?) and was appearing to slowly lose his mind during the process. On top of it all he is hired to investigate the brutal murder of a man in the manner of a long dead American serial killer. Obviously these events are connected somehow and it is up to Caster to figure it out before more people are hurt. Also add it a bit of zombies a succubus and religious zealots and there you have it.
As I said the before, the books drags a bit in the beginning, but about half way through I started to enjoy myself. Of course, that could coincide with when the true action of the book started. At any rate, from this point on I was definitely into the story.While I am not sure if the end of the book was satisfying enough to justify the trials I endured at the beginning, I would certainly check out the first book of the series to see if starting from the beginning would make a difference to me. Mike Carey is too good of a writer to give up on from just one novel.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book for my review but my post is my unbiased opinions.