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Dead Waters Mass Market Paperback – February 22, 2011
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About the Author
Anton Strout is the author of the Simon Canderous novels and the Spellmason Chronicles. He lives in New York.
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Simon is a psychometrist. He can read the history of an object by touching it. In Dead Waters, Simon is still somewhat impulsive and reckless but he is maturing. He still makes his trademark wise-cracks, but he is growing emotionally as he must deal with some personal issues. I always find that Simon's heart is in the right place... despite the various creatures that want to remove it. Simon is a very likable protagonist.
I adore the supporting characters in this series: Jane Clayton-Forrester (Simon's technomancer girlfriend), Connor Christos (Simon's partner), Inspectre Argyle Quimbley (Simon's and Connor's boss), and Godfrey Candella (the D.E.A. Archivist). While Simon is the main character, the book really feels like an ensemble piece. I love the back and forth between the characters. There is genuine camaraderie.
Simon, Jane, and Connor must solve the mystery surrounding a university professor's unusual death. The murder deeply affects Inspectre Quimbley as he used to know the professor well. The storyline dealing the aging Inspectre is very well done. I really enjoyed learning more about his past.
Anton Strout deftly continues to lampoon bureaucratic red tape with New York City's Department of Extraordinary Affairs. I find the inner workings of the D.E.A. both fascinating and amusing. While the D.E.A. is facing severe budget cuts, fortunately none of my favorite characters lose their jobs. New York City is a great backdrop for this series.
Dead Waters borrows from mythology in an inventive way. I won't reveal which mythology or what was borrowed as it would be a major spoiler.
This is the darkest of the four books. I cried at one part of the story though there are far more moments that brought laughter. The pacing is excellent with a lot of action. The plot is really engaging. The mystery and its conclusion are handled beautifully. Dead Waters is a tasty mélange of murder, mystery, and mythology, with a dash of mayhem thrown in for good measure.
In this case it's the DEA (Department Of Extraordinary Affairs) from the Simon Canderous series. Other Worldly Division field agent Simon is a bit of a head scratcher for me. He's a capable early 20's psychometric (meaning he has the ability to `read' the history of an object by touching it), he has a longtime girlfriend in the form of fellow agent Jane Clayton-Forrester with whom he's considering taking a big relationship step with, and he's often the go to guy for jobs no one else can--or wants--to handle. Given all that, I was really caught off guard by how immature he was. It probably didn't help that most of the other men in DEAD WATERS kept calling him `Kid' or `Son.' I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't reading about some fourteen year old.
I also had some issues with the pacing and plot. There's always a whole lot of talking around an issue before someone cuts in with a `so the real issue is...' or `so here's what we know...' It was frustrating and severely stunted the pace. On top of that, the basic plot was just not compelling until the very end. Simon and Jane spend most of of DEAD WATERS running around Manhattan trying to solve a supernatural murder and track down a water nymph.
There was a nice twist at the end that involved some Greek mythology which I always love, and the relationship issues between Simon and Jane provided a few nice occasional breaks, but overall I found myself just treading water through most of this book. Jumping in mid series is always a gamble as you never know how much backstory you're missing, or if you're lacking some vital piece of information that's integral to the enjoyment of the latest book. Maybe that's the case with DEAD WATERS. If not, I'm sorry to say that the potential of this book was wasted on me.
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I see the author has done another series since.Read more