Three Days To Dead
by Kelly Meding, fantasy (2009)
Dell, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-553-59286-3
Three Days To Dead is set in yet another alternate Earth where humans, shifters, the Fey folks, and other spooks coexist uneasily. Our heroine is, predictably enough, one of the human enforcers that protect people from misbehaving spooks. The Hunters, however, operate so secretively that even the higher-ups do not know the identity of the three people who run the show. All we know, for now, is that Hunters operate independently in groups of three called - what else? - Triads, along with a Gifted Bosley-type fellow being the brain behind the brawn. And trust me, the Triads are not paid to think. They are picked from disenfranchised orphans and such and trained in such a way that they hit the streets with plenty of issues and anger management problems.
Our heroine Evangeline Stone wakes up at the start of the story in a morgue, in another woman's body. As Chalice Frost, she now has to figure out what happened in the last few days leading up to Evy's death. Her memory is blank where those days are concerned. She only knows that her Triad had been led into a trap, of which only she survived only to be... what? Hmm, she couldn't remember, but she's determined to find out. She is soon reunited with her Gifted boss Wyatt Truman, who reveals that he brought her back using a spell, however this spell only lasts for three days. This means Evy has only such a short time to get to the bottom of everything!
I won't reveal more about this story, I'd just say that the best thing about this story is how the reader discovers more about this setting alongside Evy, and it's a fascinating setting. That's not to say that the plot is dull - the pace is breakneck fast, the action scenes are great, and I rarely have the chance to exhale. The heroine has a strong voice and a resilient presence. Wyatt is tad dull, but then again, this story is through Evy's point of view and she understandably doesn't have much chance to ask Wyatt what he is feeling. Both characters, especially Wyatt, have an annoying tendency to grasp at straws in order to blame themselves for everything that is wrong, but fortunately, they don't dwell too much on their whiny need to martyr themselves.
The identity of the villain has me scratching my head. He is introduced abruptly and then discarded of just as swiftly - this villain is just not interesting because he never has a chance to become anything more than a one-dimensional cartoon.
Still, no matter. Three Days To Dead is an electrifyingly exciting urban fantasy romp. I've had a fabulous time reading this story, and by the last page, I can only go, "Phew! That was a great roller coaster ride indeed!"
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