Peer Review: “City of the Lost” by Stephen Blackmoore

I hadn’t planned to do another Peer Review post so soon after the last one, but this entire weekend was a lot of things taking much longer than anticipated and me being stuck with my iPhone (and the nook app), so I ended up reading City of the Lost in a weekend. And it was totally worth it.

On the surface, it’s got a lot in common with Double Dead. It’s a premiere novel. The protagonist is undead and generally disreputable, and part of the plot revolves around the character coming to terms with a new state of being. Also, both authors don’t shy away from bad language and splatterpunk gore. Oh, and zombies show up in both. But that’s where the similarities end.

City of the Lost is, essentially, a modern-day crime novel. The protagonist, Joe Sunday, is a hitman for a local mobster who, through a variety of mishaps, ends up turned into a zombie. Because that’s just what happens in L.A. And yet, the supernatural elements don’t end up overpowering the plot — the story slips in and out of the mystical parts effortlessly, making them feel like a natural part of a story that is really about one man’s attempt to get what’s owed him, and maybe a little payback if he can get it. In truth, while I starting thinking Chuck Wendig when I started the book, towards the middle the book felt more like Seth Harwood‘s Jack Palms novels, and by the end I found myself in love with Stephen’s unique voice. You can point to a lot of things it’s kind of like, but it’s not exactly like any of them.

I am eager to see what Stephen Blackmoore does next in this world.

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