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Necropolis
Tim Waggoner
Five Star, 234 pages

Necropolis
Tim Waggoner
Tim Waggoner wrote his first story at the age of five, when he created a comic book version of King Kong vs. Godzilla on a stenographer's pad. Overall, he's published over 70 stories of fantasy and horror as well as hundreds of non-fiction articles. In addition to writing fiction, Tim Waggoner has worked as an editor and a newspaper reporter. He currently teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. His wife Cindy is a psychologist and they have two daughters.

Tim Waggoner Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

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Matthew Adrion was a cop on Earth until he and his partner followed a suspect through a magical portal and ended up at Necropolis, where Vampires, Lycanthropes, demons and every other creature famous for going bump in the night have decided to make their home. Created by the five Dark Lords, its light source, Umbriel (sort of a stationary moon that stays constant in the sky) needs to be renewed every year through a ceremony where they unite their considerable powers. Matthew, when he was killed in the line of duty, became a zombie -- a self-willed zombie -- something that no one can ever remember seeing before. He does the odd favor from time to time, earning himself funds to get his preservative spells renewed, and various favors to be returned when needed. When Devona, a half human vampire (excuse me, Bloodborn, as they prefer...) asks for his help, he accepts. Not just because he wants to help her, but because he hopes that her father, the most powerful of the Dark Lords, might be convinced to help Matthew. The preservative spells are no longer effective, and if Matthew doesn't find something to take their place, he'll be a pile of mush in a few days. Truth is, we both -- the readers and Matthew -- have a feeling it's a long shot, but Matthew, being who he is, doesn't seem to mind that there might be better things to do with his last few days than run around the city looking for an artifact stolen out of Devona's care.

The artifact, though, is something of great power, and probably one of the few things that could really hurt Necropolis. The Dawnstone is a shard of sun, the very antithesis of Necropolis. Matthew and Devona have to discover who took it, and why. Worst yet is what they plan to do with it.

You can't get more noir than Necropolis. True, Matthew might be a little less hard-chipped than Sam Spade, but his narrative is both compassionate and funny while keeping with the no excuses practicality of the hard-boiled genre. This works very well because we are introduced to a cadre of otherworldly creatures -- Devona is the closest thing to a human we have, and even she's more vampire than normal in most cases. We see these creatures through that combination of traits I mentioned, and it (for lack of a better word) humanizes them. It makes them understandable, bringing us the wonder and horror of them yet making them something we can empathize with.

The inhabitants of this world are truly interesting. There's Lazlo, a demon cab driver who drives, well, like a demon, yet who has a much nicer personality than any cab driver I've had the (mis)fortune of meeting. There's also Gregor, a huge beetle (I loved this! Kafka Easter egg!) who runs an information network based on the intel brought back to him by his many little copies. I thought the creepiest character in some ways was the head of the Great Library, who'll give you whatever information you require, in return for a page from your life memories.

An atmospheric and exciting mystery.

Copyright © 2004 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at www.apenandfire.com.


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