Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Review: HUNGRY GHOSTS, by Stephen Blackmoore

Stephen Blackmoore
Daw Books, 2017
281 pages
Fantasy / Noir

HUNGRY GHOSTS is the 3rd book in the Eric Carter series, and will be released in just a few days. Here's the thing, if you are like me you can't start reading Book 3 without having read Books 1 & 2. I got my hands on Book 3, but couldn't begin there. So I first read DEAD THINGS, and then BROKEN SOULS before diving into HUNGRY GHOSTS. Read each book in a day. Three days. Three books. Know why I read them so fast? Because they were awesome. All three. That's why.

Eric Carter is a necromancer, an exterminator. He kills ghosts, and demons, and gremlins for a living. Magic runs in the family. After his parents died in a fire, his sister brutally murdered, and his best friend killed, you could say life hasn't been a bed of roses for this gritty mage. Magic hasn't made his life better. It's only forced him to live his life alone.

In HUNGRY GHOSTS, Eric is finally dealing with his marriage. It wasn't love that made him tie the knot. It was information. While hunting for the thing responsible for his sister's murder, Eric made a deal with the Queen of the Dead. It cost him big time. Their bond was a marriage, making Eric the King of the Dead. Problem is, the queen's old ex isn't dead. Not really.

Eric and the old king are linked. Slowly Eric is turning into jade. Stone. And the old king, who was all jade, is acquiring flesh. The old king wants Eric to kill the Queen. Claims she's playing him to get what she wants. Trouble is, the queen wants Eric to kill the old king once and for all, purporting the god can't be trusted.

Eric knows he is a pawn in some game, a piece in the middle of an old lover's quarrel, but he doesn't care. He wants the marriage annulled, and his life --pathetic as it was-- back. He finds he is left with only one option. Kill both the Queen and the old King. The only real issue arises when one realizes there might not be an easy way to kill gods.

"Revenge is one hell of a motivator." With the help of a fellow necromancer, Eric embarks on a journey to recover an obsidian dagger. This is perhaps the only weapon with enough power to permanently kill a god. The journey leads him into Aztec realms, and Mist walls where Eric is forced to face demons head on. His own personal demons. Exiting from the mist is almost unheard of . . . And yet into the mist he must go, as the answers he seeks are on the other side.

HUNGRY GHOSTS has enough twists and turns to give me whiplash, that's for sure! It is an amazing third installment in the series (and hopefully not the last). There is something about the way Blackmoore writes that just resonates with the way I most enjoy reading. Taut sentences, with an almost machine gun burst of phrases. Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta, ta-ta-ta-ta ... it just sucks you in! Downfall? I read all three books in three days. How long will I have to wait for Blackmoore's next book? (I can answer that. Too long).

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series,
and The Vaccination Trilogy

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