Book Review: J. N. Duncan’s Deadworld

Posted May 22, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: J. N. Duncan’s Deadworld



J.N. Duncan

paranormal fantasy that was published by Kensington Books on April 5, 2011 and has 420 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Vengeful Dead, The Lingering Dead

The first in the paranormal romantic fantasy series, Jackie Rutledge, set in modern-day Chicago.

My Take

Jackie and the FBI seem cool with it but we never do learn just why such a conservative outfit like the FBI has allowed a gay psychic on the team and appears to take Laurel seriously. There’s no background given at all for this.

For the most part, the dialogue ran true. I did like the character of Jackie, for the most part; she is such a drama queen. Not what one expects from an FBI agent. Jackie is supposed to be such a tough little thing and good at her job. Yes, I know she’s had a recent trauma…but, jeez…

Duncan drew things out just right, making me crazy to know the details behind Nick’s Change, but there was so much of it that was just too pat, too formulaic. Duncan has a good idea going, but I’d really like to see him develop it into some depth.

On the other hand, Duncan seems rather half-hearted about the clash between Nick-Shelby and Jackie-FBI. It’s like he’s going through the motions because it’s part of the outline for the story.

It’s a common trope, that of the “otherworld” civilian desperate to keep the normals safe, and Nick’s primary antagonist has picked up some new abilities that has Nick terrified.

Well, you know how that’s going to go over with FBI agents of any sex. There is no way Jackie or Laurel are going to lie down and let some civilian do their job! So the clash is on.

Nick and Shelby are hunting for Drake before he kills again…hampered by Nick’s insistence on the two of them drinking synthetic blood when the real thing would make the hunt easier. Meanwhile, Jackie and Laurel are trying to figure out how, who, or what is killing these people and leaving absolutely no trace while also hounding Nick and Shelby as to their involvement.

The Story

An old vampire has been playing games with Nick Anderson for well over 100 years now. Taunting him with his inability to save his loved ones, and now he’s back, back with a nasty twist.

And Jackie has found pictures dating back decades which look just like Nick. The one of his father when he had been accused of killing five people back in the 1970s really has her…curious. Then she finds his “museum”…

The Characters

Jackie Rutledge drowns her past in work. The more the better. When she can’t drown it in work, she drowns it in booze, the more the better.

Laurel Carpenter is her partner and a psychic who senses ghosts.

Nick Anderson was a sheriff in Wyoming. In 1862. Where his family was killed by a vampire, Cornelius Drake. We’re given the impression that it was a hideous manner in which they were killed but there’s really only one detail that finally comes out in the end. Nor are we given any information as to why Drake would turn Nick into a vampire. Well, at least, someone did something to Nick as his family lay dying.

Shelby Fontaine was brought over by Nick in the 1930s when she lay bleeding out. Lovers for a time, Shelby and Nick work together in Specialty Investigations, a private eye firm specializing in ghostly issues. She just loves racing her BMW motorcycle.

Reggie is a ghost from Nick’s sherrifin’ days and helps out while Cynthia is a flesh-and-blood human in unrequited love with Nick and works in his firm as his secretary.

Belgerman is Jackie’s boss and an incredibly understanding one. He comes across more as a stern, caring dad. Then there’s the token asshole agent, naturally, a role well filled by Pernetti.

The Cover and Title

The cover confuses me. I know it’s not Jackie, the primary character in this series, so it must be Shelby in the midriff-baring tank top and leather pants posed in her stiletto-heeled boots although I don’t really see Shelby as the type to carry a gun. Then there’s the catch phrase, “It’s their town. We just die here…” I think this cover got away from another story…

The title is Jackie’s introduction to a different world, an alternate plane of…well, not existence, for this is Deadworld.