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City of the Dead Hardcover – July 10, 2012

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Stunning. A Chinatown for the 21st century." – Charles Cumming, New York Times bestselling author

"City of the Dead starts with a tsunami and ends with a hurricane, and nothing in between slows it down. A smart, scary, and relentless storm overtaking a city held hostage by greed and disaster." – Andrew Gross, New York Times bestselling author

"Hugely entertaining."– Sean Black, author of the Ryan Lock series

"Daniel Blake makes New Orleans the setting for a story that's as hot, steamy and shot through with voodoo madness as the city itself. As the victims of a ritualistic serial killer mount up, City of the Dead is not just a first-rate crime thriller, but also an impassioned, powerfully evocative attack on social injustice, racial prejudice and the unfettered power of the rich. Highly recommended!" – Tom Cain, author of The Accident Man and Dictator

"City of the Dead is a fast-paced, blood-soaked, full-throttle descent into hell and one of the best thrillers you will read this or any other year. Daniel Blake weaves an intricate plot with the skill set of a top-tier surgeon, his dialogue rich and spot-on and his characters--both good and gut-wrenchingly evil--full-bodied and as real and fresh as morning rain. It is a novel that quite simply demands to be read. To do otherwise would be a crime." – Lorenzo Carcaterra, author of Sleepers and Midnight Angels

"Blake keeps the dialogue razor sharp and the action hammer blunt while tantalizing readers with a Sherlockian thriller that turns the modern detective story on its head. If ever there was a character ripe for transition to the big screen, Franco Patrese is it." -- Rupert Wyatt, director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes

"Incendiary . . . Blake's edgy, cynical take on the Katrina tragedy blends easily with Patrese's increasingly desperate quest for justice and survival." -- Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Daniel Blake is the pseudonym of the bestselling, acclaimed author Boris Starling, best known for New York Times bestsellers Storm and Messiah. Blake has worked for a corporation that specializes in kidnapping negotiations and confidential investigations, and he was also a reporter for England’s The Sun and The Daily Telegraph. He lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; First Edition edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439197628
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439197622
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,620,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jack on August 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This story is a ludicrus white-hating diatribe. The writer incorporates every concievable device of class envy and corporate greed fantasy that creates the most imporbabale ending for what could have been an otherwise intriguing tale.

The introductory premise of this story turns out to be nothing but a ploy (albeit cleverly done) that draws the reader in to believing the thrust of this story is about some deep-seated cultural evil.

An extreme disappointment overall. Don't waste your money.
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Format: Hardcover
When this book begins, Franco Patrese, a police detective from Pittsburgh is taking a well-deserved rest in Khao Lak, Thailand and enjoying himself at long last. He is on the beach walking when he notices the odd way the surf is acting and pulling the water way out to sea. Patrese has seen this before and knows that a Tsunami is coming and tries to warn the beachcombers. He helps as much as he can but there are many casualties including a young woman that Patrese had spent some time with.

When he arrives back in Pittsburgh, he doesn't get a very warm reception. He becomes the scapegoat in a crime that goes bad; a crime that kills his partner. Franco decides that he will look elsewhere for work and calls a friend in the FBI. He gets hired by the Agent in Charge in New Orleans, Louisiana.

When Patrese arrives at his new job, he learns that New Orleans is being inundated with some horrible crimes that look like they are inspired by Voodoo rituals of some kind. He comes in contact with a very wealthy man, St. John Varden in the city and the man's son, St. John Varden, Jr., who is the present Governor of Louisiana. When Franco starts work he is partnered with detective Selma Fawcett who is not fond of the FBI and tries to get rid of Franco at every turn. The first case that they partner on is the murder of Cindy Rojciewicz, who is the elder Varden's Personal Assistant. She was killed in a horrific fashion that included dismemberment and a very large snake. There are more killings in the future and as these two try and figure them out sometimes the murder scenes get caught up in Voodoo, politics, drugs and some very interesting characters, including a lady who takes care of BIG snakes. But the snakes that crawl are not as bad as the snakes that walk on two legs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Claire on July 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
CITY OF THE DEAD is the second novel in a series featuring hardened but likeable homicide detective Franco Patrese. It's a complex thriller set in New Orleans about a serial killer with a dark link to a voodoo priestess. This book had me on the edge of my seat, and I couldn't get enough of Blake's atmospheric portrayal of New Orleans on the brink of Hurricane Katrina. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Kay VINE VOICE on February 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
At the beginning, the only thing wrong with the book was the jangling inauthenticity of a British writer trying to write a Pittsburgh cop now serving as an FBI agent in New Orleans.

The editors missed several instances of British terms sneaking into the text. For example, he talks about an AGM rather than an annual meeting of shareholders and plasters rather than bandages. The main character, Franco Patrese, doesn't "sound" like someone from Pittsburgh and he doesn't have the "ear" for writing the "voice" of people -- whether black or white -- from New Orleans. They all sound pretty generic. If the author wanted to write this particular story, which could take place nowhere but New Orleans, it would have improved the book a lot to have a co-author who could have written with an authentic New Orleans voice. He also has a supposedly devout Seventh Day Adventist character get drunk.

Despite this lack of authentic voice, I generally enjoyed how the story unfolded through the first 300 or so pages of the book. But when Patrese uncovered the true villains behind the murders and the reason for the killings, the author completely lost me. It was a cobbled-together hot mess of corporate greed (I can always accept greed as the basis for evil plots), completely unrealistic pseudo-religious motivation, racism, and individual greed (but I didn't think the the sideline players's financial gain was large enough to believe they'd support such a heinous plan). I also don't believe the sideline players would have agreed the murders that started the book were a necessary part of achieving the ultimate goal. And finally, the last two scenes of the book were beyond my ability to suspend disbelief.

By the end I felt let down and wished I had never started reading it. I give this book 3 stars only because the writing itself, while not authentic for the place and people, was fairly decent.

I won't be reading any other books by this author.
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Format: Hardcover
Blake throws a surfeit of possibilities at the wall, some of them sticking, others sliding into insignificance as New Orleans is rocked by the grisly carnage of Voodoo-inspired murders in a city of extremes, from the larger-than-life personalities of a wealthy man and his governor-son to the political graft and corruption common in a thriving port city, the legend of Marie Laveau, a culture rich in superstition, music and myth and, ironically, the wisdom of the ancient Mayan civilization. The city has its own way of conducting business, a blend of poverty and a lucrative drug trade and pampered city officials who rule like a benevolent dynasty. When former Pittsburg PD Franco Patrese leaves the force and joins the FBI, he is assigned to New Orleans, city of contradictions, opportunistic paradise to some, Sodom and Gomorrah to others, a roiling stew of humanity defined by music and superstition, the rich black culture historically coexisting with enterprise and trade. In the recent spate of serial murders, the bloody scenes suggest Voodoo ritual, but victims jump demographics from black and white to rich and poor.

Partnered with New Orleans PD detective Selma Fawcett, a woman who grew up in the projects, Franco is introduced to the multi-layered complexities of New Orleans politics, law enforcement agencies and a population that distrusts anyone wearing a badge, and rightly so. Confronted with macabre crime scenes, diverse political agendas and systemic governmental corruption, Franco is an outsider depending on Fawcett's perspective on the murders, which she freely expresses, as well as her personal views of morality and God's impending judgment on sinners.
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