on January 6th 2015
Series: Bone Street Rumba #1
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in New York
Also in this series: Midnight Taxi Tango (Bone Street Rumba, #2), Battle Hill Bolero
“Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.”
Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.
One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.
But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death…
After reading Shadowshaper I was interested in reading more from Daniel José Older. I liked the world building a lot more in this novel.
No one knows quite what Carlos is. He has no memory of his life before the day he died. He was picked up by some ghosts and taken to a safe house where he recovered. He isn’t a ghost but can see and interact with them. He was thought to be one of a kind until another person like him shows up and starts trying to harm some of the most powerful ghosts in New York.
I love the idea that there is a bureaucracy of the dead in New York. Carlos works for the afterlife’s law enforcement. His partners are actual ghosts and this leads to issues like never being able to hand anything directly to him in sight of the living because nothing upsets live people like seeing a coffee cup float through the air.
He also seeks help from a gay Santeria priest and the teenager that runs the priest’s store when he has spiritual and magical issues to resolve. Add in a paramedic with interest in the occult and a Haitian trauma surgeon for physical help when needed and he is set.
My only quibble with this book is that the female characters aren’t written as strongly as the male ones. I know that he gets better with this because I read later books first so that’s good, but in this one the love interest Sasha pretty much seems to exist only as an object of Carlos’ desire. You don’t get a lot of insight into what she is thinking about the situation. Even when an attempt is made to show her point of view, it is flat compared to the way he writes men.
This is a good start to a series. I’m interested in seeing where he takes this.