Better Off Undead, the fabulous fourth installment in the terrific Bloodhound Files series, begins with inter-dimensionally-relocated FBI profiler Jace Valchek on her way to prison to visit the criminal Tair, a werewolf, who happens to be the other side of her dual-natured friend Dr. Pete. Since being unceremoniously wrenched from her own reality to a world where humans make up only one percent of the population (which she has recently dubbed Thropirelem, to reflect the lycanthropes and vampires in charge, and the golems who serve in various capacities), Jace has learned how to navigate her new surroundings. However, dealing with Tair never rates high on Jace’s list of favorite activities.
When she and Charlie arrive at the prison, Jace offers Tair a deal for a reduced sentence: he must undergo a magical procedure that will bring Dr. Pete to the fore and effectively erase Tair. Much to Jace’s surprise, Tair agrees — with the stipulation that she must do a job for one of the lycanthrope mob bosses. While considering this option at home, three mobsters show up at Jace’s apartment, giving her no choice but to go along with them. After meeting the mob boss, whom Jace deems off his rocker (she was brought there to evaluate him), he escapes. Things go from bad to worse several hours later when Tair fakes his participation in the ritual he agreed to, using it as a means of escape, and on his way out scratches Jace with a were-claw. Now Jace faces becoming more a part of her new location than she ever bargained for.
Better Off Undead proves itself a worthy addition to one of the most imaginative and original urban fantasy series out there. Though told from Jace’s point of view, readers get a clear picture of the other characters in the tale, good guys and villains. No longer feeling quite as much a fish out of water in Thropirelem, Jace has made a life for herself with good friends and meaningful work. One of Barant’s hallmarks, the pitch-perfect thread of humor, adds a level of enjoyment to this fast-paced tale that also includes a bit of social commentary. With something for everyone, The Bloodhound Files series remains a must-read for all urban fantasy fans, and this reviewer can hardly wait to get her hands on book five, Back from the Undead.
- Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks; Original edition (October 4, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312545053
- ISBN-13: 978-0312545055