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City of the Lost (Queen of the Dead) Paperback – January 3, 2012
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"The gritty streets of CITY OF THE LOST are filled with snappy dialog, and fascinating characters, as well as a rollercoaster of a plot that doesn't slow down from beginning to end. This is the zombie crime novel we didn't know we were all waiting for."
— Seanan McGuire, author of DISCOUNT ARMAGEDDON
"CITY OF THE LOST is the best kind of paranormal noir: gritty, breakneck-paced, and impossible to put down. Joe Sunday is a new antihero to watch, and the next installment can't come soon enough."
— Caitlin Kittredge, author of THE IRON THORN
"Bruja, demons, bloodsuckers, the living dead and bucketloads of bloody magic - you'll find all of those in CITY OF THE LOST, but the real magic is how Blackmoore deftly breathes secret supernatural life into the City of Angels. This is an auspicious debut that's at turns violent, hilarious, and tragic. Can't wait make a return trip to Blackmoore's voodoo version of L.A."
— Chuck Wendig, author of BLACKBIRDS
"For a debut author, Stephen Blackmoore knows perfectly well how to snatch up his readers and barrel away with them from page one. In Joe Sunday, he's created the perfect hard-boiled anti-hero - an inexorable protagonist who's short on tongue-wagging and long on visceral brutality, yet is totally sympathetic due to his singular narrative voice. Oh, yeah. He's also dead. CITY OF THE LOST is one hell of a fast and thoroughly enjoyable ride. The perfect book for fans of crime noir, urban fantasy, and horror. One of my favorite reads of the year."
— John Hornor Jacobs, author of SOUTHERN GODS
"The funhouse reflection of L.A. Blackmoore conjures is at once vibrant, seedy, and mysterious - streets so mean, they feel as though plucked straight from Chandler's DT nightmares. CITY OF THE LOST effortlessly blends the grit with the fantastical, and paints a world in which magic is to be feared - but not nearly so much as the people behind it."
— Chris F. Holm, author of DEAD HARVEST
From the Back Cover
Sunday's a thug, an enforcer, a leg-breaker for hire. When his boss sends him to kill a mysterious new business partner, his target strikes back in ways Sunday could never have imagined. Murdered, brought back to a twisted half-life, Sunday finds himself stuck in the middle of a race to find an ancient stone with the power to grant immortality. With it, he might live forever. Without it, he's just another rotting extra in a George Romero flick.
Top customer reviews
One observation is that the magic of the world is not well defined, which I find a bit frustrating, but this is a personal preference. Additionally, the main character has very little control over his own powers, but this is central to the plot of the book itself. Lastly, while I enjoyed the ending, as the villains get what they deserve, it was a very telegraphed sequence of events.
I am giving this three stars, which can be translated as, "Overall I enjoyed reading this but had to force myself through a few parts. Would read more in this world but perhaps not put similar books at the top of my list."
That is so not true. Zombies are gross, disgusting. They stink like rotten meat baking in the desert sun, and they're always oozing all kinds of bodily fluids while dripping flesh all over the freakin' place.
I've never met a zombie that didn't make me puke... would be more accurate.
Well, not until I met Joe Sunday, that is!
One look at the cover for City Of The Lost and I knew, just knew, that I was going to fall in love with Joe Sunday. I mean, come on... look at him. Look. At. Him. He's a hottie... with a perfectly kissable jaw line, messed up hair that my fingers long to touch, eyebrows with a sexy but distinctive arch, and a hole in his chest large enough to see the street lamp just down the road from where he's standing.
Yeah, about that -
Joe Sunday is your average "leg-breaker for hire," the kind of guy that most of us wouldn't date, and definitely not the kind of guy that if you did choose to date, you'd take home to meet your Mamma. We first meet up with Joe at Henry's Bar and Grill checking up on his friend, and coworker, Julio. Julio had been sent by their back-stabbing boss, Simon, to retrieve an ancient stone from some guy named Giavetti. But ever since meeting with Giavetti, Julio's been acting a little strange. Mumbling about his hands not being his hands, breaking his bottle of beer, attacking the bartender, attacking Joe, and ending the very first scene in this novel by jamming the broken bottle into his throat and... dying, I'd say Julio isn't quite himself anymore.
Now, Julio's behavior and death doesn't just have Joe asking questions, it has his boss, Simon, confessing to knowing and killing Giavetti back in his younger days. After telling some pretty unbelievable stories, Simon puts Joe in charge of getting rid of this Giavetti guy, finding the stone, and breaking the news to Julio's wife about Julio's death. That last part would have been easy to do had Julio not shown up at his home as a newly risen member of the walking dead, and a puppet being pulled by the tight strings of Giavetti.
After walking into a world of chaos and total disbelief, Joe finds himself battling it out with Julio, losing his life, waking to find himself the best zombie Giavetti has ever created, and on the hunt for an ancient stone with the power to grant immortality.
In this story you'll read about the one thing Joe needs to eat every day to keep from rotting; a social-working witch that wants to save all the little, not-so-human misfits in Los Angeles; an incredibly crazy Nazi wizard named Dr. Neumann, who happens to know the secrets behind the ancient stone's power; a midget with razor-sharp teeth; a demon tending bar that likes to talk in riddles; an officer seeking revenge; the truth behind Giavetti's beauty secrets; and a beautiful woman named Samantha Morgan... holding one hell of a grudge.
And the stone - wanted by all the characters cast in this deliciously written book - not only has the power to grant immortality to those that seek it, but has the power to destroy the magical world Mr. Blackmoore has so perfectly hidden in plain sight within the City of Angels. Some want the stone to save others. Some want the stone so they can live forever. And one person is willing to do anything to use the stone for the purpose of destroying another... even if it means killing Joe Sunday in the process.
While there might not be any love scenes in City Of The Lost, there's definitely enough sexual tension between Joe Sunday and Samantha Morgan for Joe Sunday to be add to my list of Favorite Men! I mean, honestly, I'd gladly let Joe Sunday eat the heart out of my chest... as long as he doesn't shoot me in the head and have my body crushed into pulp at a gravel quarry. Well, actually, knowing me... I'd probably give my heart to him anyway.
The premise is that Joe Sunday is a thug, hired to break legs for his mobster/hoodster boss, Simon. Simon hires some croonies to steal a strange stone, but the croonies all end up dead, so Simon sends Joe to take out the man Simon thinks did it and stole the stone. Joe thinks its a run-of-the-mill job, until he ends up dead . . . and is brought back to life by the man he was supposed to kill using the stone. Now, in order to keep from rotting and eating people's hearts to rejuvenate himself, Joe needs the stone. With it, he won't need to kill to stay in one piece. All he has to do is find it and keep his hands on it, which is harder than it seems since it appears everyone with any magical talent whatsoever in the LA area is out to get it.
I like the idea of the book, and enjoyed the combination of urban fantasy and mystery elements. Joe Sunday isn't someone that you'd normally empathize with, but you do in the end. The novel is dark and brutal, which you'd expect from someone who is essentially a hitman. Joe doesn't waste time when violence is necessary, and he isn't afraid to hurt people to get what he wants. So the book is violent, with its fair share of blood and guts. In general, there is no blurring of the details for these scenes, although it isn't gratuitous in any way. (For example, when Joe's new urges for hearts rears its ugly head, the hardcore reality of what he's doing is skipped over and left to the imagination.) But it's still pretty dark.
There's a large slew of rather interesting characters after the stone as well, which certainly gave the book a unique flavor. A few of them were over-the-top. But you need a good cast of characters to keep the waters of the mystery itself muddy and Stephen Blackmoore does that well. By the time the real mystery begins to unravel and play out, you can see how all of the threads are coming together, including all of the things you should have noticed as you were reading (the answers to all the questions you should have asked along the way now obvious).
So, a good mystery novel wrapped around a believable zombie origin story. For those who cringe from blood and violence, this is not your book, although I didn't think what's in here was gratuitous or over-the-top. It's a dark novel, with dark characters, but certainly a novel I'd recommend for those who enjoy a good, bloody zombie book. I'm not certain there's a sequel planned, but I'd buy it when it comes out, just to see what Joe Sunday does now that he's undead.
Tough-guy Joe Saturday finds himself kinda undead, or at least unkillable, and in the middle of a centuries-long quest for a magical stone. If this were all there were to the book, it would be a matinee of great fun, maybe one of those odd movies on the sci-fi channel every so often. But this book is so much more than that -- thanks to a well developed and detailed cast of characters -- the cool, demon bartender; the hippie/Red Cross-ish vampire, the Nazi wizard.
The story is so full of momentum, you'll be carried along with everyone else. Great stuff.
Here's hoping this is the first in a long series.
Most recent customer reviews
This is an inside look at death. Lots of interesting characters, a dash of mystery, and a great protagonist.Read more