Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Review - Dead Waters by Anton Strout - 5 Qwills

Dead Waters
Author: Anton Strout
Series: Simon Canderous 4
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Ace (February 22, 2011)
Price: $7.99
Language: English
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780441020119
Review Copy: Provided by Publisher

Cover and Description:

From the back cover:

With Manhattan's Department of Extraordinary Affairs in disarray (forget vampires and zombies -- it's the budget cuts that can kill you), Simon Canderous is still expected to stamp out any crime that adds the "para" to normal." And his newest case is no exception...

A university professor has been found murdered in his apartment. His lungs show signs of death by drowning. But his skin and clothes? Bone-dry. Now Simon has to rely on his powers -- plus a little help from his ghost-whispering partner and technomancer girlfriend -- to solve a mystery that has the NYPD stumped and the D.E.A. shaken and stirred., Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders

My thoughts:

Dead Waters is the 4th book in the Simon Canderous series and the very best of the series so far.

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.

I give Dead Waters 5 Qwills.

I do recommend that you read this series in order.

Prior books in the Simon Canderous series:

Dead to Me
Book 1
(February, 26, 2008)
A new urban fantasy featuring a man working on the right side of law-with talents that come from left field.

Psychometry-the power to touch an object and divine information about its history-has meant a life of petty crime for Simon Canderous, but now he's gone over to the good side. At New York's underfunded and (mostly) secret Department of Extraordinary Affairs, he's learning about red tape, office politics, and the basics of paranormal investigation. But it's not the paperwork that has him breathless.

After Simon spills his coffee on (okay, through) the ghost of a beautiful woman- who doesn't know she's dead-he and his mentor plan to find her killers. But Simon's not prepared for the nefarious plot that unfolds before him, involving politically correct cultists, a large wooden fish, a homicidal bookcase, and the forces of Darkness, which kind of have a crush on him.

Deader Still
Book 2
(February 24, 2009)

It’s hard to defeat evil on a budget. Just ask Simon Canderous.


It’s been 737 days since the Department of Extraordinary Affairs’ last vampire incursion, but that streak appears to have ended when a boat full of dead lawyers is found in the Hudson River. Using the power of psychometry—the ability to divine the history of an object by touching it—agent Simon Canderous discovers that the booze cruise was crashed by something that sucked all the blood out of the litigators. Now, his workday may never end—until his life does.

Dead Matter
Book 3
(February 23, 2010)
Shaking up the spirits of Manhattan

The spirit populace of Manhattan doesn't appreciate its well-deserved RIP being disturbed, and Department of Extraordinary Affairs Agent Simon Canderous is sent in to do damage control. Meanwhile, his vacationing partner, Connor Christos, is in a sorry state, and he tells Simon that each night he's being haunted by visions of his long-lost brother at his window. Simon is worried that his partner may be going crazy-or worse, maybe he's not...


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