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Staying Dead (Retrievers, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – May 23, 2006

61 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Retrievers Series

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Editorial Reviews


"Do you believe in magic? You will when Gilman's done with you." -- Edgar Award-winning author Dana Stabenow

About the Author

Laura Anne Gilman is the author of the popular Cosa Nostradamus books for Luna (the “Retrievers” and “Paranormal Scene Investigations” urban fantasy series), and the Nebula award-nominated The Vineart War trilogy from Pocket, as well as the YA trilogy GRAIL QUEST for Harper. Her first story collection is DRAGON VIRUS and she continues to write and sell short fiction in a variety of genres. Follow her at @LAGilman or

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Luna (May 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373802536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373802531
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,707,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

140 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
In a world in which most people believe that magic doesn't exist, there remains a sub-culture of Talent thriving. These folks use their powers in a way that keeps them hidden from the unbelievers. Wren Valere is a Retriever, a talent who locates things that have been missing for people who do not want the police involved. She returns the missing object to its owner for a fee negotiated by her partner and agent Sergei Didier. Both Sergei and Wren are loners who make a very good team professionally and personally even though neither wants to admit their feelings for one another.

A cornerstone with a spell of protection has been stolen from the Fronts building and the owner wants to get it back. Wren and Sergei intend to retrieve it from the collector who hired a rogue mage to steal the spell. Before they can accomplish the deed, they also must deal with a ghost that was freed when the spell was stolen. If Sergei and Wren want to collect their fee, they have to stop the runaway spirit, who is intent on revenge

Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton, Tanya Huff and Mercedes Lackey are going to love STAYING DEAD, a romantic fantasy that stirs the senses and creates a story that is both fulfilling and magical (no pun intended). Laura Anne Gilman makes the reader believe that magic exists and creatures of myth and legend inhabit the earth. It will be very hard to wait for the next Retriever's novel coming in the summer of 2005 because Laura Anne Gilman has cast quite a spell on readers.

Harriet Klausner
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122 of 138 people found the following review helpful By Sean T. Carnathan on October 31, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after seeing the author speak at Worldcon in Boston. She and her partner in self promotion, Keith DeCandido, had a pretty amusing schtick going, so I figured I'd buy both their books.

Gilman has written a great book here. I actually didn't like the opening few pages and darn near put it down -- but I was reading it on a plane, so I soldiered on. I'm glad I did. Within a few more pages I was hooked, and it really gathered steam as it went. Wonderfully developed lead characters, with well done romantic subplot (a feature that rarely interests me in a book). I think what I like best about it is that it offers a fully formed vision of an alternate New York where magic works and demons wander the streets, complete with prejudice, fanaticism, greed, foolishness and all those other human traits. Promises to be the start of a series, so more good stuff to come.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Rienne on March 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
The main beef other reviewers had with his book is that it didn't focus enough on the romantic relationship between the main characters. In my opinion the minimalist approach on the romance subplot was the best thing going for this book.

I REALLY dislike science fiction/fantasy books that have 90% of the book talking about the romantic relationship and 10% about the actual plot. If I wanted romance I'd read Harlequin, and since this book is in the SciFi/Fantasy section, I expect to get something along the lines of Sci/Fi Fantasy.

My real problem with this book, is the writing style. The author tends to start at the end of a scene and work backwards. Once or twice I didn't mind, but for EVERY SINGLE SCENE?! That's a little much. BAsically, in one chapter Wren would be trying to figure out what's going on and then in the next scene she's taking a course of action and while she's on this course she's leaving snippets of information on how she came to this conclusion. I'm not explaining it very well, but it made the story choppy and slow. I just found it made the story go 1 step forward and then 2 steps back.

The storyline was interesting, magic security block is stolen and it turns out that there is much more to this stone than Wren originally thought. Which is cool. I wish I could've learned a little more about what made Wren tick. I didn't feel like I truly got to know her in this book. I found Sergei a lot more interesting and I'm curious to see how his past will affect his new, "upstanding" life. But I don't know if I'm curious enough to buy the next book.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Houser VINE VOICE on June 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Wren Valere is the main character in Laura Anne Gilman's debut novel "Staying Dead." Wren is a retriever - a witch of sorts. Working with her partner Sergei, they locate missing magickal objects. A cornerstone with a protective spell has been stolen from a building in New York City. Wren and Sergei must find the cornerstone and return it to its rightful owner before his protection runs out.

I had real hopes for this novel but was sorely disappointed. Gilman's writing just barely passes muster. The characters are a little flat and the plot is dull. I give massive kudos to the dust jacket writer because they managed to make an otherwise boring story sound riveting and I was sucked in. It looks like Gilman plans to try to make "Staying Dead" be the initial installment of a new series of books. If this is true, Gilman has a lot of work in front of her to make it work. I can't honestly say that I would read another book in this "series" based on my experience with this one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Bull on August 3, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story of the magic user Wren and her partner Sergei is fantastic. As many other reviewers have mentioned it is a little difficult to get into this book, but once you do you cannot put it down.

Wren is a thief and a renegade magic user. She is sent out on a fairly easy job that becomes extremely complicated as it becomes more and more apparent that more is going on behind the scenes. There is excellent world building here and the urban setting works really well. I don't want to say too much more about the plot.

Wren and Sergei are fantastic characters and their interactions with each other and feelings for each other made much of the book. The budding romance between the two of them is very nice to watch, but it doesn't overshadow the rest of the book, merely it colors the characters' actions and motivations. They work very well together and actually trust each other which is nice to read about.

The writing is a little bit choppy, but I imagine this will improve in future books as the author gets her footing. If it were not for this choppiness in the writing style, I would have given this book 5 stars.
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