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  • Writer's picturechristinerainswrit

Review of The Dead Take the A Train

Blurb: Julie Crews is a coked-up, burnt-out thirty-something who packs a lot of magic into her small body. She’s been trying to establish herself in the NYC magic scene, and she’ll work the most gruesome gigs to claw her way to the top.

Julie is desperate for a quick career boost to break the dead-end grind, but her pleas draw the attention of an eldritch god who is hungry for revenge. Her power grab sets off a deadly chain of events that puts her closest friends – and the entire world – directly in the path of annihilation.

The first explosive adventure in the Carrion City Duology, The Dead Take the A Train fuses Khaw’s cosmic horror and Kadrey’s gritty fantasy into a full-throttle thrill ride straight into New York’s magical underbelly.

Review: Julie Crews is a drug addict and monster hunter. Magic comes at a price in this world, and hers comes from pain, but at least the drugs dull the edge. Desperate for money, she takes a job that explodes into something that could threaten the whole world. How much pain can Julie take to save those she cares about from the eldritch monsters eager to eat them all?

This is a dark and twisted urban fantasy horror, and I just ate it up. It has the rotten edge of today's modern world woven with the fetid horrors of demons and monsters which lurk underneath. Not as far underneath as you think. Everyone from the lowly monster hunter to the big wigs on Wall Street use magic. We see a lot of monster hunters in urban fantasy, but I really liked seeing how the corrupt folks on Wall Street used magic and monsters. I could have been happy with a whole story about what's happening in the law firm whose clients are Wall Street execs, and I hope the series goes back to it.

Julie isn't particularly likable at first. She's mean, violent, and relies heavily on drugs. She is the antihero, the lesser thing to dislike compared to all the bad guys and monsters. Yet as you see her with her friends, the more her gruff exterior cracks and her good heart shows. I love St. Joan and Dead Air, such quirky mysteries. Even Julie's jerk of an ex, Tyler, was fascinating, and everything that went on in the demented law firm. The only part I didn't like was Sarah. She's Julie's best friend and romantic interest, and completely rich girl normal. She's the peppy and positive one, and she was such a contrast to Julie, I couldn't see how they meshed together in a romantic relationship. I do like the opposites attract trope, but this was not even that. It felt too forced. The story could have happened without Sarah. I would have preferred Julie crushing on St. Joan or Dead Air, or even the lovers to enemies to ominous sizzle between Julie and Tyler.

The unique and horrifying myths and monsters were spectacular. Very gory and terrifying. Nightmare stuff. I'm happy this is the first book in a series, because I want more.

You can find Cassandra Khaw on her site and Richard Kadrey on his. Buy the book here!

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