Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Three Days to Dead
Kelly Meding
Dell, 405 pages

Three Days to Dead
Kelly Meding
Kelly Meding is a native of the Delaware seashore. She briefly attempted life in the bustle of the Northern Virginia/DC Metro area, before retreating back to the relative quiet of the Eastern Shore. She lives in a small town near the beach, with a neurotic cat who occasionally meows at ghosts. Kelly received her Bachelor's Degree in Communication in 2002 and she hasn't used it since, preferring instead to wile away her non-writing hours on the sales floor of a national retail chain.

Kelly Meding Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

"Resurrection is temporarily stable at the best of times, but it's not permanent. I'm only borrowing Chalice. I had seventy-two hours from the moment I woke up yesterday afternoon at quarter after four. That's all I get."
Once upon a time in a world far, far away, publishing was run by editors. People who were interested in finding new talent, and developing that talent with the aim of building an author's name, which in turn led to profits. Nowadays, publishing is run by accountants, and their sole interest is instant profit. Original talent still slips through, but mostly that is accidental. More likely, the accountants trawl for something vaguely like a book they know has already sold, then churn this out with a bit of fanfare in the hope of making a fast buck. This is what is responsible for the endless Anita Blake clones, invariably written by young to middle-aged American women. Few of whom are anywhere near as good as Laurel K. Hamilton. At least, back when she was more interested in framing inventive stories than in exploring deviant sexuality within her books. The latest pretender who has come to my attention is Kelly Meding, presenting the first adventure featuring her anti-hero Evangeline Stone. The idea here is that America -- and it's always America -- is home to goblin clans, were creatures, vampire families, trolls, gargoyles, plus a few underground fey. All of whom are kept out of the public perception either by their own designs, or by groups of human hunters. The hunters are organised into trios called Triads, under the command of a Handler. The Triads keep the supernatural community honest, and hunt to kill Dregs; unstable part supernatural critters, also known as Halfies. Evangeline Stone was on a job with her colleagues, and the next thing she knows is when she wakes up on a mortuary slab, in another body. We quickly learn that her colleagues are dead, her Handler is missing, and she is being held responsible. Evy Stone -- inhabiting the body of suicide victim Chalice Frost -- is immediately on the run, with just three days to find out what really happened. When the time is up, the resurrection spell will wear off, and she dies again. Cue dramatic music.

I note from the front and back covers of Three Days to Dead that the praise being heaped upon this title comes from authors of similarly styled works, like members of a support club. The impression I got was that they were thinking if we tell each other how great we are often enough, it might actually be true. Unfortunately, the psychology didn't work on me. Interaction between nature and super-nature is a genre which has become overcrowded in recent times, and in order to stand out, a title must either include an original twist, or be blessed with characterization and a plot so strong, that it counteracts the negative effects of over-familiarity. Three Days to Dead, on first impressions, has the potential to achieve one or more of those necessary qualities. But what hope I had was all too quickly buried under a wave of mediocrity, and to be frank, poor imagination. Most irritating were the names used; Dregs, in this case a generic term for supernatural characters, made me think of the dregs of humanity, halfies, sound like they might be a brand of fluffy toy, Triads I associate with the Chinese Mafia, Handlers put me in mind of animal trainers, Bloods are a criminal gang, Owlkins are more fluffy toys, and Chalice Frost is a name that could be a refugee from Meredith Gentry's world. Lead character Evy Stone, written throughout in the first person, reveals that the author believes a tough woman must be violent, perpetually angry and needlessly foul-mouthed. In fairness, yes, the character has a lot to be angry about, and she inhabits a violent world. But a hint that Kelly Meding was willing or indeed able to move away from someone else's tired formula would have been very welcome.

Three Days to Dead was a disappointment, containing little in the way of fresh, imaginative story-telling, and promising nothing but more of the same. Which in slightly over 400 pages is a let down. The plot reads like it was written with a hangover, and the world in which the action is set never fully comes into focus. Mainly due to the lack of a believable, well conceived back-story, and almost zero alternate perspective. One day, someone will reboot this genre, and produce a stunning novel. But on this evidence, it isn't going to be Kelly Meding.

Copyright © 2010 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide