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Half-Resurrection Blues: A Bone Street Rumba Novel Mass Market Paperback – January 6, 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Bone Street Rumba Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A damn good read. All the best dark urban fantasies are about matters of life and death. Half-Resurrection Blues takes that to the limit. A hard-core, hard-driving fantasy, following the adventures of a most singular man who is both dead and alive and tasked with solving the problems of the dead and the living and everything in between. Except, of course, nothing is ever that simple. Daniel José Older takes aim at a whole bunch of familiar targets, and hits them hard in new and interesting ways.”—New York Times bestselling author Simon R. Green

“Older’s spectral noir is as real as fresh blood and as hard as its New York streets. A Lou Reed song sung with a knife to your throat.”—New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey 

Half-Resurrection Blues is so many things at once: a mystery, a suspense, a supernatural thriller. The world Older builds is familiar and alien, and it's so vividly imagined and rendered that the reader believes the contradictions, embraces them, loves this world of ghosts, demons, magic workers, and half-alive men and women. This is a fantastic beginning to what will surely be a fantastic series.”— National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward

“Daniel Jose-Older is here to save your soul. But he might just terrorize it first. Half-Resurrection Blues is the first novel of a fabulous talent, one who mixes the spectral and the intellectual with skill. This book is smart and gripping, funny and insightful. It kicks in the door waving the literary .44. Be warned, this man is not playing.”—Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver
 

“In Half-Resurrection Blues, Older has created Noir for the Now: equal parts bracing, poignant, compassionate, and eerie. A swinging blues indeed.”—Nalo Hopkinson, Nebula Award–winning author of Sister Mine


 

About the Author

Daniel José Older is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and composer. He facilitates workshops on storytelling, music, and antioppression organizing at public schools, religious houses, and universities. He co-edited the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History and his short stories and essays have appeared in Tor.com, Salon, BuzzFeed, the New Haven Review, PANK, Apex and Strange Horizons.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Bone Street Rumba Novel (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (January 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425275981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425275986
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I’ve been waiting so very long for a full length novel featuring Carlos Delacruz, who works for the New York Council for the Dead. I first met Carlos in Older’s magnificent story collection Salsa Nocturna and so, of course, I couldn’t wait to dig into this. A bit of history: Carlos is an inbetweener, both alive and dead, and he has very little memory of who he was before he “died” and went to work for the Council. It makes for a bit of a lonely life, although he does value his friends and coworkers. When the book opens, Carlos gets orders to take out a man named Trevor that is threatening the stability of an entrada (an entrance into the underworld), and he does, not knowing that this will lead him into some rather startling revelations about his past, not to mention a very powerful sorcerer, Sarco, that seeks to destroy the barrier between the living and the dead.

If you know Daniel José Older’s work, then you know how he writes. I imagine he writes like he plays music, with a lyrical quality that is nearly impossible to tear yourself away from. Carlos is the narrator, and he wears his pain on his sleeve, his loneliness always palpable. After all, as far as he knows, he’s the only of his kind. And yet, he’s not afraid to fight the good fight, and his sarcasm is as sharp as a freshly stropped razor, as is his sense of humor. I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice it to say that Carlos does find clues about his past, and meets a woman that may have the key to his future. First though, he’s got to take care of a pretty nasty imp infestation that seems to be directly associated with Sarco. Those imps are nasty business, and the first time we meet one is, well, you’ll see. I’ve never quite read anything like it. The imagery is so twisted. So very, very twisted.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I didn't mean to take a vacation in Older's Brooklyn, but fortunately, I had a day off when I picked up this book because I didn't stop reading until it was done.

I was already excited to read this story, having watched the unfolding of its debut on my Twitter timeline. I had only read two short stories by the author, as well as some of his incredible true stories from his time as an EMT in NYC, so I knew I liked his writing style already. For those of you who have read similarly small amount of output by Older, you may be acquainted with his more lyrical style, which is downright hypnotic. Half-Resurrection Blues isn't written in precisely that style, but a more noir version of it, by which I mean it invokes its vivid imagery using simpler language. I didn't find this disappointing, but rather more in keeping with the style of book this is, sort of neo-noir.

New York is a city that's often called "overwritten" in that so many writers live there that they set their stories in it and after all, what more can you know about the same city? I find that those stories are so often about, by and for a certain type of writer who is simply not going to see the city in the same way that a writer like Older sees it, namely, the "flavor" usually dashed lightly into those same ol' stories is actually the main dish in this book, and around here we call it sabór. With no italics*.

This is a hell of a speculative fiction/dark fantasy story, and it certainly serves up everything you need for a book in the genre, surpassing most very easily for two simple reasons. The first is that Older KILLS it at dialogue.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Half Resurrection Blues is a beautifully written ghost noir by Daniel Jose Older that paints a realistic and vivid picture of New York that I’ve never witnessed before. There’s so much to love about this book whether it be the world he’s created, the humor, or the diverse cast of character, but one aspect I must praise is its writing. When it comes to writing, one thing that irks me is lengthy descriptions. I find it ridiculous when some authors will gladly spend ten pages describing a sunset or the façade of a building when they could use those pages to progress the story. Older skips the minor details and focuses more on the narrative and the characters, giving them voice and making them likable to the reader. Older’s writing is easy to settle into; it reads like music, entrancing the reader into the story and forces them to think twice about stopping. With all that said, I must address one quibble in particular that I did not enjoy about the book and that would be the romance as well as the love interest. In my opinion, the romance seemed unrealistic and the love interest, Sasha, was not as fleshed out enough to make her into a believable character. I will take into account that this is the first book in, what I hope, is a long series and that will get another chance to become better acquainted with her. Other than that, I was very pleased with HRB. Older has crafter a lovely world along with a fine cast of characters and I am very excited for the sequel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With all the accolades on Twitter about this book, I was expecting a truly exceptional book. While original in plot, I found it difficult to get through. The narrator's voice irked me, as did the frequent misused words. That may be an issue with the Kindle edition, but it was really distracting. Just not that compelling a read for me.
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