Monday Prediction: Broken Souls by Stephen Blackmoore
Yay! A cover. When I wrote the draft of this entry it had not yet been revealed.
You know that guy who’s been shit on by the world and really, really wants to be an asshole but can’t quite manage it because he has a really, really persistent conscience?
Meet Eric Carter. Who is one of the most well written such individuals extant in genre fiction at the moment. In Stephen Blackmoore’s Dead Things, the first novel featuring said, we got a necromancer hauled back to the L.A. he fled by the murder of his sister being dogged by Santa Muerte (derived from the Aztec goddess of death, Santa Muerte is now revered as a saint — hence Santa — by some Catholic sects and some practitioners of Santeria. She is the especial patroness of the very poor, those who lead lives of extreme danger, and drug lords/cartels) who wants him for her very special pet.
I read Dead Things in two days. My Kindle was pretty much attached to my hand. I think I forgot to sleep.
I have been anticipating the second installment since the moment the last word of the first faded off my retina. I have been checking Amazon and Blackmoore’s site at least once a week for the last year and change so I could pre-order, if nothing else.
Of course, when Blackmoore did announce the release date in a blog entry I totally missed it. Because I’m special like that.
The title is Broken Souls and the synopsis is here.
Ohmygodohmygodohmygod, I am totally fangirling.
It’s been ages since I was this excited about the next book in a series (and I’ve read some really good stuff in the interim; stuff that also had/has/will have new installments). I think the last one was two or three Dresden novels ago. Before they went so far off the rails I lost both track and interest (sad face, as Harry remains, to this day, one of my favorite progats ever). If I’m honest, there were probably signs before Changes. And to be honest, I should have seen it coming because nothing is, or should be, sustainable indefinitely (call it the “Supernatural Principal” if you will).
There are a myriad versions of the Eric Carter antihero type in modern genre fiction; so many I overlooked Dead Things for far too long. They (it if we’re talking trope), like Leverage or Burn Notice, get old over time. You can dress them up in a different ball gown for each event, but there’s still going to be some desiccated society matron underneath.
Eric Carter has a distinct lack of desiccated society matron in his character.
Blackmoore infuses something different into Eric Carter. He’s an “ends justify the means, resist the right thing beyond the last moment” guy but there’s genuine internal struggle and you’re never quite sure which way he’s going to go (keep in mind that Blackmoore gives him many more options than just “catch the pop fly or drop it”). His swath of fuck ups, both conscious and unconscious, well intentioned and non- sweeps you along in its wake and just as he wants to be bad but can’t quite manage it, you want to hate him but can’t. Because he continues to surprise.
This here is one sustainable character. And Blackmoore is one of few writers I can think of who has the skill to keep Carter’s story going. It’s the little quirks and ticks, the moles and warts that says so. They way individual elements coalesce into beings you can’t help but be a vouyer to because you don’t have a fucking clue what they’re going to do at the end. Because there’s a little Eric Carter in each of us but the majority have society or morality or some other “ty” as a wall slamming up to bounce us back when we’re about to marry an ancient death goddess.
Modern noir, suspense, magic, necromancy, ghosts, witches… all tropes in the genre at this point but, in Blackmoore’s deft hands, something new and memorable.
They’ll follow you around like a Hellhound with your scent.
Even if it was more of the same (aka Dead Things), it would still promise to be incredible, but the synopsis suggests it’s far from “the same.” Characters carry over, sure, the world, but the story and its intricacies, I have a feeling they’re going to be new and exciting, creepy and memorable.
Hurry up, August 5th!
Note: I was hoping to post a variety of Santa Muerte photos in this entry to give a sense of exactly who this saint/goddess is. I managed to grab these two before every other image I clicked to enlarge displayed a plain black screen. I shit you not.
I decided to take it as a sign and leave things where they were.