Exterminating demons proves a risky profession with the added downside of a limited social life, but shapeshifter Vicky Vaughn makes the best of her situation. Five years earlier, paranormal beings began emerging from behind the veil of secrecy they had always used to conceal their existence. At that time, a movement was underway led by werewolf lawyer Alexander Kane, Vicky’s sort-of boyfriend, to gain rights for PAs (Paranormal Americans). Two years later, a plague hit Boston that turned many of its citizens into zombies. Calling upon the PAs for assistance as they are immune to the virus, the authorities set up a quarantined zone within the city, dubbed Deadtown, where all of Boston’s vampires, werewolves, and zombies are required to reside and are only allowed to leave with a permit.
Vicky’s unique position as Boston’s only active shapeshifter gains her some notoriety and the unwanted attention of a medical researcher wishing to “study” her. A member of the Cerddorion race, Vicky may change into any sentient being she wishes three times each lunar cycle. These abilities are only passed down through women, and if they choose to bear children, they no longer possess the capability to shift and move to inactive status, the path chosen by Vicky’s sister, Gwen. While ridding clients of their demons and avoiding the annoying doctor, Vicky also has to contend with the reappearance of the demon, a Hellion, who killed her father ten years earlier and left her with a mark that becomes inflamed when she is agitated.
Beginning with its first page, this exciting, gripping novel sustains its high-octane suspense throughout the narrative, keeping the reader guessing until the end. With a protagonist easy to root for and a wide range of interesting, well-defined secondary characters and authentic relationships, the author creates a world with eerie parallels to our own.
Though feeling guilt over her father’s death, Vicky never questions her purpose or the methods she typically uses to accomplish her objectives, resulting in a less-conflicted nature from a psychological standpoint than often appears in urban fantasy. Vicky’s struggles within herself stem from the demon mark and its effect upon her physically and emotionally. Holzner applies humor with a deft hand, enhancing the reading experience of this superb addition to the urban fantasy genre. This reviewer will be first in line for Deadtown’s sequel.
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Ace; Original edition (December 29, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0441018130
- ISBN-13: 978-0441018130
To purchase a print copy of Deadtown from Amazon click here.