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Silver Zombie: Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator Mass Market Paperback – November 30, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Delilah Street; Paranormal Investigator
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (November 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439167818
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439167816
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carole Nelson Douglas, author of more than fifty fantasy and science fiction, mystery, mainstream, and romance novels, was an award-winning reporter and editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. After writing some bestselling high fantasy novels and SF thrillers, she imported fantasy notions into her Midnight Louie mystery series, which features a hard-boiled Las Vegas PI who’s a feline “Sam Spade with hairballs.” Her Irene Adler historical series made Carole the first author to use a woman from the Sherlock Holmes stories as a protagonist in the 1991 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Good Night, Mr. Holmes. She’s won or been short-listed for more than fifty writing awards in nonfiction, sf/fantasy, mystery, and romance genres, including several from the Romance Writers of America and Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine, and the Cat Writers’ Association. In 2008, RT BOOKreviews magazine named Carole a “pioneer of the publishing industry. Carole and husband Sam Douglas, a former art museum exhibitions director and kaleidoscope designer, are kept as pets by five stray cats and a dog in Fort Worth, Texas. She collects vintage clothing, and does a mean Marilyn Monroe impersonation, and, yes, she does dance, but not with werewolves. As far as she knows.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

ACOYOTE YIPPED in the desert night surrounding Las Vegas.

Its sharp introductory barks escalated into a full, soulful howl at the moon.

I straightened from my feral crouch to listen.

Then I smiled.

That lonesome coyote might be the only natural critter within hearing tonight.

Even the glowing yellow moon, half full, looked pretty unnatural. Its blade-straight inner edge reminded me of a giant casino chip split down the middle.

I wasn’t used to working under moonglow. Usually Sin City’s gigantic bouquet of neon lights backlit my night-crawling expeditions.

Tonight, though, my beat was a raw desert landscape of distant mountains that made the flat valley floor into a huge, empty, open maw surrounded by massive saw teeth. I stood at its center, the moonlight reflecting from the steel studs embedding the arms, legs, and torso of my form-adapting black catsuit.

“Bite me,” I whispered at the jaundiced half-werewolf moon, “and you’ll get a jawful of broken fangs.”

Something came barreling out of the darkness right for me, as if answering my invitation. Fast and furred, the yellow-beige flowing blur grew ears, hackles, and hulking shoulders as it neared—like a panting locomotive with a boar’s-head cowcatcher.

I turned sideways as it charged by, kicking up sand chest-high. Then it wheeled and leaped for my throat.

“Quick,” I shouted, using the word as a name, not a command. A huge pink tongue swiped my jaw and slimed my costly, FBI-approved night vision goggles. Only borrowed, alas.

I couldn’t wipe the wet lenses clean on my steel-studded outfit. Scuff City. So I swept off the goggles and shook my head at the grinning wolfish face now at standing height. My waist.

“Quicksilver, you’re supposed to find prey, not me,” I told him.

I fished in the secondhand cop utility belt swagging my hips for a microfiber cloth, then glanced around. All around. The new bone-reading night vision lenses had tinted everything a Beatles-submarine yellow. I pushed them, cleaned, atop my head like sunglasses.

It was pleasant to see the true moonshine-silvered landscape, cool and serene. Silver is my talisman, including this silver-gray dog who’s half wolfhound, half wolf, and all partner. Quicksilver is more lupine than K-9, and just what a girl needs for a bodyguard and buddy after the Millennium Revelation.

Hmm. A hummock of Joshua tree–tall cactus was edging into sharper focus. I snapped the lens strap back around my head and the lenses down over my eyes. Several hummocks of cacti were shuffling toward me. Quicksilver had accomplished his Australian sheep dog act, after all.

I drew the police baton at my hip. The idea was to serve and protect, not to hurt.

And not to be hurt.

The closer they came, the bigger they got. Human figures, three of them. These were professionally big guys, the kind who walk with beefed-up arms out from their sides at acute angles, with thigh-heavy legs pushing their feet apart so they make a waddle into a threat.

Muscle, in the classic PI term.

And you just a slip of a girl, Irma commented sardonically.

Shut up, I told my inboard invisible friend since orphanage days. I’m on the tall and solid side. Quick and I can handle these Three Stooges.

Sadly, that’s about all they were. As much as twentieth-century zombie movies celebrated a dogged will to ambulate, the New Millennium’s feral zombies share the same lack of social graces, not to mention coordination.

Quicksilver immediately trotted to circle behind them and nip at their shambling heels or backsides if necessary.

The three were still shod and wore “rent”ed suits … not the hired kind, but the tattered variety rent apart by werewolf fangs and claws. Their dim memories of being torn to death by Cesar Cicereau’s werewolf mob didn’t make them want to gnaw brains yet, but somewhere deep down they must still be plenty pissed.

Nor were they visibly rotting on the hoof. In fact, their pre-chewed condition put them in more danger from predators than the other way around. Those mortal wounds had never healed, but remained blood-crusted scars of their last stand some twenty to seventy years ago. Werewolf chieftain Cicereau had been offing competition since Vegas began in the 1940s. The Millennium Revelation had unfolded a lot of mysteries along with all the variations of supernatural underworld creatures it had coughed up.

Still, three guys heading for a lone woman was never a safe situation, even if she had a hundred-and-fifty-pound dog in attendance.

“Okay, fellas,” I told them, brandishing my club, “welcome to Rancho Second Chance-o.”

That stopped them dead in their tracks.

Or perhaps what had stopped them was sighting the low bunkhouse and corral behind me, where a horse lifted its head to nicker. Home, sweet, home on the range. Don’t ask me why, but horses have a soothing effect on feral zombies.

I stepped aside to let the trio stumble into the ranch’s safety zone surrounded by silver barbed wire fencing. That’s when a pack of shadows rushed me from the surrounding sagebrush, from every last bush.

A coyote pack!

No time to play zombie tourists.

My night stick prodded all three Zobo butts hard to keep them moving, and I raised my right arm just as the lead coyote leaped for my throat. With my leather-gloved palms at both ends, I managed to wedge the police baton between its fangs, then twist my upper body. That threw the alpha male off to the side in time for me to knee the next coyote in the leaping chest, so it fell back.

Quicksilver, snarling and snapping up a storm, was harrying ears and tails and flanks to drive back the middle of the pack of five. Coyotes don’t weigh much, maybe thirty pounds, and neither Quick nor I wanted to kill them. These were just desert dogs, doing what comes naturally. It’s actually harder to fight off opponents you only want to discourage.

From the grunting sounds behind me, the zombies had roused to kick away coyotes trying to slip through the barbed wire isolating the corral, protecting the nervous horses that had bunched and whinnied.

Quick raced over to add the discouragement of his big bad wolf teeth, while I shouted and flailed with my baton, trying not to break any animal’s delicate leg.

Between the kick-dancing zombies, Quicksilver’s slashing speed and teeth, and my shouts and hard knocks, the coyote pack was retreating, snarling, with ears down.

The oncoming dirt-bike roar of a Ranger RZR utility vehicle spitting up twin funnels of sand and snapped-off brush finished the job. The coyotes vanished into the moonlight-dappled sand as if made of it.

The ATV ground its noisy way to the enclave’s open gate. I followed, dusting off my supple yet rhino-hide-tough Inferno Hotel catsuit. The driver doffed his helmet and goggles. My Vegas-based, designer suit–wearing ex-FBI guy was looking provocatively off-Road and Track.

Oooh, chica, Irma purred in my mind. Our Ricardo is flaunting his muy macho mode. My motor is revving.

Yup, my uninvited alter ego is the Queen of Shallow.

“Coyotes?” Ric greeted me. “Are they okay?”

Quicksilver circled the Ranger to sniff its huge tire footprint, hackles raised.

“A bit bruised and cut,” I said. “We pick a time were-wolves aren’t out and then run into their innocent little brothers on a tear.”

“They must be hungry to pack in fives,” he said. “Coyotes generally stick to mated sets or run in threes.”

“Like zombies?” I asked, nodding at the stolid waiting trio.

“Just more stragglers from that lot I resurrected at Cicereau’s Starlight Lodge.”

“What are you going to do with them?”

“Keep them out of the zombie trade, at least. You bring something back from the dead, in whatever state, you’re kinda responsible for it.”

His words left me speechless. My tough FBI guy didn’t know it, but I may have done exactly that with him.

“I really understand,” I said in a serious tone that slipped past him. His mind was still on the wandering zombies.

“The rest have scattered pretty far,” he said, “but I won’t need you and Quicksilver for roundups after this. Didn’t know if Cayuse here”—he slapped the Ranger’s sand-blasted engine cover—“would work to round up stray Zobos. It sure does. They shy like horses at unnatural sounds.”

“Jeez, Ric. A man and his wheels. You’ve named that mobile mechanical monster of overbearing tires and sheer ruckus?”

“You’ve got Dolly.”

He nodded at the barely visible black bulk of my ’56 Caddy convertible. Her full name was Dolly Parton, and she had the awesome chrome “bumper bullets” to prove it. She was parked on the dirt road that was way too far from the highway asphalt for my taste and her black-satin finish.

“Come inside.” Ric dismounted easily in his spandex race driver jumpsuit. “I’ll show you the setup. We need to get these Zobos tucked away for the night and the next few weeks. Now that they’ve got horses to tend and guard— and are safe behind silver wire—they’re ready for rehab.”

“Rehabilitation for what? Basket weaving?”

“I don’t know yet. I just can’t leave any known dead wandering around to be meat for the Immortality Mob.”

I followed him inside the rambling barbed wire, shaking my head and muttering “Cayuse?”

More About the Author

Award-winning ex-journalist and novelist Carole Nelson Douglas has written sixty novels ranging from historical and contemporary mystery and romance to science fiction thrillers to high and urban fantasy. No wonder her home office is a Twilight Zone landscape of mannequins in vintage dress.

She's a four-time Rita Award finalist and has RT Reviews Magazine lifetime achievement awards in Suspense, Mystery and as a Pioneer of Publishing. Currently, she writes two popular Las Vegas-set series: the Midnight Louie, feline PI, mysteries partially narrated by a "Sam Spade with hairballs" and the Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator, noir urban fantasies of werewolf mobsters and Silver Screen zombies in a paranormal Sin City.

Douglas was the first author of a Sherlockian series with a female protagonist, diva-detective Irene Alder, the only woman to outwit Holmes, debuting with the New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Good Night, Mr. Holmes. Douglas says if she has a literary muse, it's definitely feline: mysterious, wise, playful, and packing sharp shivs in velvet gloves.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Seriously, the first half of the book should be "What is going on?"
Susan Dunn
After a few re-caps from various websites, I was able to understand this book and appreciate the story.
Bookaholics Reviewer
It's great if you are devoted to the series but it's not a great starter book to get into them.
H. Harrelson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Susan Dunn on January 18, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I absolutely loved the previous books in this series and was so disappointed by this book. Seriously, the first half of the book should be "What is going on?" It is written in a weird abstract technique without plot. The plot finally comes together about half way through the book and becomes a story. The nightmare at the gynecologist office - I suppose it was supposed to be healing for the character, but came off as a major cringe-worthy episode for this reader. The book falls into the abstract writing method again for the last quarter and I just skipped a lot a pages because I just wasn't interested anymore, and very frustrated by this time.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Reilly O. on December 14, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a disappointing installment in what has previously been a pretty good series. There was no underlying mystery or story for this book. It could have easily been condensed into a couple chapters or a short story and published in an anthology. As a reader, I'm bored with the too-perfect Ric and the constant inner angst of he and Delilah as a couple. Let's move on to something more interesting in the next one please.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Harrelson on December 31, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a slight departure from the previous Delilah Street novels in that it deals more with Delilah's back story than any current goings-on in the new Vegas CinSim scene. You get a better look at Lilith and how Delilah ends up in Vegas. For me, it was less action oriented and more story building. It's great if you are devoted to the series but it's not a great starter book to get into them. I enjoyed it and will continue to wait, with tapping nails, for the next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on December 16, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Before I start let me just say that I think Carole Nelson Douglas is one of the best authors out there. Funny, sexy, loves her movies and isn't scared of putting everything and anything into her books for the point of keeping the plot moving and interesting.
And this book is just the kind of wonderful, keep the characters interesting and the plot fresh kind of craft she puts out.
Delilah and Ric leave Vegas to visit her Kansas birthplace. Yeah, yeah, you are saying WHY?!?! Why leave Sin City to go to some boring, out of place one-horse town in the middle of no where? Well, don't worry. The author makes sure there is tons of danger and, frankly, some serious heart-breaking face-to-face with Deliliah's young adulthood. We learn about her past. And it is NOT pretty.
We also have Metropolis, the Wizard of Oz, and a new cocktail named, of course, Silver Zombie. We also get zombie-cowboys, a drive-in theater scene that made my day, and Native Americans. And of course Quicksilver. We also get Ric's Mother which does make for a interesting twist. Helena is pretty, smart and no fool. She is starting to understand that Delilah is not your normal girl and in some ways I really hope that Delilah and Helena become best friends. See? When you care about the characters - or want them to die a slow death - that shows the skill of the author.
Great characters, nice twists to the plot, love her taste on old movies - just get it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 4, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Delilah Street has faced down several nasty souls while residing in Las Vegas. However, her next assignment takes her to the most dangerous place in the world, not Dorothy's Kansas but Delilah's Kansas where she comes from. Her boyfriend Ric Montoya and her wolfhound Quicksilver accompany her as she drives Dolly her mintage Caddy.

Delilah promised she would investigate her childhood to learn her past and confront it and those involved. Ric's former FBI friend Leonard Tallgrass greets the trio as he wants to question Delilah about a cow mutilation story she investigated just before leaving town. They soon become entangled in an inquiry into who is using zombies and why with the silver road leading to a house of mirrors and Lilith a mirror image of Delilah.

The fourth Delilah Street urban fantasy (see Dancing with Werewolves and Vampire Sunrise) takes a rural trek home that affirms you can go home, but leaving alive is a bit more difficult. Silver Zombie is much more personal than the previous entries as Delilah and readers learn much about her past. With a nod to the Emerald City and zombie fever, this is a terrific tongue in cheek thriller as Lilah sums it up nicely when she considers Maria the robot from the film Metropolis is a poor thing virgin and will remain a poor thing virgin forever.

Harriet Klausner
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By dwszoo on February 5, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
just started reading the series but like her midnight Louie series it grabs hold and doesn't let go. if you like paranormal mysteries and the author then these are a must read.
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By Diane on January 15, 2014
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Not the best series you'll ever read, but a good read that you often can't put down. Good characters, weird situations. Enjoyed it immensely!
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I Have all of her Midnight Louie series and all of this series too. Looking forward to Midnight Louise's series.
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