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Wild Cards Death Draws Five Paperback – April 30, 2011
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The book can be called an Apocalypse-religious drama. The story follows familiar and new faces racing against each other to get to John Fortune, who is either the Second Coming or the Antichrist, depending on whom you ask. The forces after him include Billy Ray Carnifex, the Midnight Angel, John Nighthawk, Fortune's bodyguard Jerry Strauss AKA Jerry Creighton AKA Mr. Nobody, and last but not least, Fortunato, Fortune's estranged father. Ray, Strauss, and Fortunato are all familiar faces to longtime fans of the series, and they live up to their reputations as fan favorites in this story. Of the new faces in this tale, the Midnight Angel is a standout as a wonderful new character that quickly becomes a favorite due to her relationship with Billy Ray and twisted backstory.
Miller's characterization is spot on all around in this story. I've got to say that I'm impressed that he took a thug in Billy Ray and turned him into one of the most fascinating characters in the series, and I've got to say that Carnifex is now at the top of my favorite characters list. Jerry Strauss is fun to read, as always, and it seems to be that he lost a bit of his naivete since we saw him last. The shining star here is, though, Fortunato. As much as I enjoyed Billy Ray's parts of the book, I have to say I am most impressed with Miller's handling of the long-lost sorcerer. He is no longer an almost too abrasive sex fueled heavy, but rather a full fledged character. He also gets quite a few spotlight stealing moments in the book, but in this one, who doesn't?
Everyone and everything in this book shines at their brightest. It is without a doubt firmly set in the upper class of the series. Containing fun cameos from characters we all know and love, this book is a celebration of the first decade and a half of Wild Cards. A true riding off into the sunset tale that fans of the series won't be able to put down.