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Dead of Veridon
Tim Akers
Solaris, 368 pages

Dead of Veridon
Tim Akers
Tim Akers was born in deeply rural North Carolina, the only son of a theologian. He moved to Chicago for college, where he lives with his wife of thirteen years and their German Shepherd. He splits his time between databases and fountain pens.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

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Tim Akers's first novel, Heart of Veridon (2009) introduced Jacob Burn, disgraced son of one of Veridon's Founding Families, as well as his city, Veridon, a steampunk-flavored fantasy locale. I admit I wasn't sure what to expect from the first novel -- it seemed to teeter in tone between the tragic account of a dying and corrupt city and fairly pure noirish action. Now that Akers has continued the series, with Dead of Veridon, the template seems to be more noir action, though to be sure Veridon as a setting retains plenty of colour and implied attitude, with a sort of default tragic -- or at least depressive -- feeling which, to be sure, is not exactly inconsistent with, say, portrayals of LA in classic noir.

This novel opens with Jacob Burn taking an assignment to make a delivery to the zombie-like riverdwelling Fehn. Things quickly -- and predictably -- go pear-shaped, as the delivery seems to precipitate a change in the Fehn, who suddenly begin to invade Veridon in great numbers. Jacob and his "spider" friend Wilson are on the run, quickly realizing that strange events have been in transit well before Jacob's trip to the Fehn. The mystery involves a man named Ezekiel Crane, and the ancient people who may have built Veridon, as well as Jacob's dying father and general uproar among the rulers of the city, include Jacob's old enemy, the half-machine woman Angela Tomb. Jacob is soon thrust unwillingly back into a position of some influence in his city, though he seems in many ways powerless and indeed clueless -- a fact of which he is well aware.

The novel is very fast-moving, full of action, color, and invention. At times, it may be a bit too full of all that -- some revelations come off a bit ad hoc, and as I noted about the previous book, Jacob's preference to shoot his way out of any problematic situation can be a bit trying. But it is fun, and it is interesting, and it sets a template for what could be an ongoing series in the noir detective/action fashion, or what could still modulate into a tale of the transformation of Veridon, and the growth of Jacob Burn... and I have to say I'm still not quite sure where Akers' intentions lie. I'd say that Dead of Veridon falls pretty strongly on the action side of things -- successfully enough, on its own terms.

Copyright © 2011 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area and is a regular contributor to Tangent. Stop by his website at http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton.


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