Table of Contents
is such a fast-paced, engaging, entertaining book that the pages seemed to fly by far too quickly. Take the New York of
Men in Black
, inject the same pop-culture awareness and irreverence of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
, toss in a little
Thomas Crown Affair
, shake and stir, and you’ve got something fairly close to this book.”
The Green Man Review
“It has aMen in Black
flavor mixed withNYPD Blue
’s more gritty realism … if you think of the detectives as working the night shift inThe Twilight Zone
. It’s a book (and a protagonist) that is going places, and those who enjoy something fresh in urban fantasy will enjoy what they find. Strongly recommended.”
is a refreshing, exciting urban fantasy with elements of romance and horror that will appeal to fans of Jim Butcher.”
The Best Reviews
“A fun read … The pace moves right along, running poor Simon a little ragged in the process but providing plenty of action. If you liked
Dead to Me
, it’s a safe bet you’ll like this one even more.”
—Jim C. Hines, author of
The Mermaid’s Madness
is a fun, interesting, and witty read. It is something a little different, with a male protagonist, tongue- in-cheek attitude, and interesting mystery.”
Urban Fantasy Land
“It has a little bit of everything for the paranormal junkie … unique from a lot of the urban fantasy genre. This is a fantastic series.”
Bitten by Books
“Nice touches … There is a lot to like here.”
DEAD TO ME
“Simon Canderous is a reformed thief and a psychometrist. By turns despondent over his luck with the ladies (not always living) and his struggle with the hierarchy of his mysterious department (not always truthful), Simon’s life veers from crisis to crisis. Following Simon’s adventures is like being the pinball in an especially antic game, but it’s well worth the wear and tear.”
—Charlaine Harris, #1
New York Times
bestselling author of
Dead and Gone
, partMen in Black
, Strout’s debut is both dark and funny, with quirky characters, an eminently likable protagonist, and the comfortable, familiar voice of a close friend. His mix of (mostly) secret bureaucratic bickering and offbeat action shows New York like we’ve never seen it before. Make room on the shelf, ’cause you’re going to want to keep this one!”
New York Times
bestselling author of
“Simon Canderous is the kind of guy who can do magical things with his hands … literally. With only his wry sarcasm, self-deprecating humor, and preternatural ‘talent’ for psychometry to keep him out of trouble, Simon navigates the supernatural underbelly of New York City with a style and panache worthy of a thousand sequels.”
—Amber Benson, author of
“Urban fantasy with a wink and a nod. Anton Strout has written a good- hearted send-up of the urban fantasy genre.Dead to Me
is a genuinely fun book with a fresh and firmly tongue-in-cheek take on the idea of paranormal police. The laughs are frequent, as are the wry smiles. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next.”
—Kelly McCullough, author of
“Written with equal parts humor and horror. Strout creates an engaging character … clever, fast paced, and a refreshing change in the genre of urban fantasy.”
“In much the same vein as Mark Del Franco’s
or John Levitt’s
, Strout’s urban fantasy debut features plenty of self-deprecating humor, problematic special powers, and a quick pace, with the added twist of overwhelming government bureaucracy. Strout’s inventive story line raises the genre’s bar with his collection of oddly mismatched, entertaining characters and not-so-secret organizations.”
Monsters and Critics
“Imagine if Harry Dresden or Angel had to work in a poorly run office, dealing with office politics and red tape. It’s a great debut.”
“A wickedly weird debut from a writer who makes being dead sexier than it’s ever been before. And who doesn’t love a debonair, divination-having, ghost-seducing, cultist-abusing detective in New York? Imagine
Law & Order
but with hot ghostly chicks, rampaging bookcases, and a laugh track.”
—Carolyn Turgeon, author of
Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story
“A strong debut … Seeing the world through Simon’s eyes is a funny, quirky, and occasionally scary experience. Strout’s world will be well worth revisiting.”
Ace Books by Anton Strout
DEAD TO ME
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author
PRINTING HISTORY Ace mass-market edition / March 2010
Copyright © 2010 by Anton Strout.
All rights reserved.
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eISBN : 978-1-101-18534-6
ACE Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014. ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
For my father,
who wears his pride in me like a badge of honor.
I work every day to be worthy of it.
Once more we leap into the breach, dear friends. I’ve missed you. So has Simon. Ignore the bat in his hand. However this book ended up in your greedy little mitts, I wanted to say welcome. Thanks for reading me. Stay and enjoy.
There are many players on this stage who make this endeavor of crafting a book possible: everyone in the haunted halls of Penguin Group, especially my friends and colleagues from paperback sales; my editor, Jessica Wade, known around the halls of Ace as the Swift Red Pencil of Justice; copy editor Valle Hansen; Annette Fiore DeFex, Judith Murello, and Don Sipley, for a stunning cover; Erica Colon and her crack team of ad/promo people; Jodi Rosoff and my publicist, Rosanne Romanello, who send me places and keep me from signing babies; Michelle Kasper; my agent, Kristine Dahl, and her assistant, Laura Neely, at ICM, who answer all my foolish author queries without strangling me; the Dorks of the Round Table—authors Jeanine Cummins and Carolyn Turgeon, who needs to finally admit she is a fantasy author; the League of Reluctant Adults, for keeping the lounge bar stocked; Lady Group, for keeping Orly sane while I write; glamazon Lisa Trevethan, for her keen beta eye; Jennifer Snyder, who maintainsUndeadApproved.com
, the unofficial fan site, which I usually check first to see what I’m up to; my family—both the biological and chosen ones; and finally my wife, Orly, who keeps me smiling and always on track both in my life and writing. And if you’ve read this far, I just want to say thanks again toyou
. You’re the best.
What then is to become of man?
Will he be the equal of God or the beasts?
When it came to working for New York City’s favorite underfunded supersecret paranormal investigation agency—known as the Department of Extraordinary Affairs—high-stakes decision making was par for the course. People lived or died when it came down to fighting ghosts, cultists … even the occasional chupacabra. My personal stress from handling the caseload of Other Division meant I barely kept my sanity as it was, but right now I was facing the hardest decision of my life. “Choose, Simon,” my ex-cultist-turned-girlfriend Jane said in a stern tone.
“I … I can’t.”
“For God’s sake,” she said, giving me a gentle swat to my arm. “It’s
. How hard can it be to pick a cheese?”
I turned away from the assortment of cheeses in the display cooler in front of me to look at her. Jane wore jeans and a tight black T-shirt with a cartoon-ghost corpse on it that read CASPER WASN’T SO FRIENDLY. Her normally big blue Bambi eyes were narrowed at me in mock disgust, the rounded contour of her face looking a little sharper since her long blond hair was pulled back from her face into a ponytail. In the background behind her the rest of my local supermarket went about its own business, but the look Jane was giving me made it feel like she was shining a spotlight on me.