Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Blood & Treasure
Publication Date: 1st July 2014
This is another sent into Ginger Nuts of Horror in exchange for an honest review of the book. The main character name had provoked a discussion before I even picked it up.
Dante Butcher lives in LA. He owns a pocket watch he bought in an antique shop. The watch is the conduit that Violet uses to communicate with Dante from the “dead side”. She died when she was 12 years old. Dante has always had a knack for detecting shadows – or shades – spirits that are possessing the living that have come from the dead side. Getting help from Violet, he trawls the clubs at night seeking out shades to banish back home. Things start to take a turn for the worse when he comes across a more powerful shade in a friend. In trying to find out more about it, Dante uncovers a long and disturbing trail of corruption among the dead. Along with Violet he must get to the bottom of the story. He can trust no one. Least of all Violet.
I have been thinking about writing this review since about 40% into the book. It was right about this time that the indecision about whether I should give up or keep going started.
In terms of a story this book has something. It’s an interesting idea. It just wasn’t very well executed. Dante Butcher as a main character wasn’t that exciting. The lifestyle he leads, practically living in nightclubs and the fact he is chasing spirits from the dead side should be exciting, exhilarating and packed with adventure and fast paced narrative. It isn’t. His interactions with the spirit of a dead girl who talk to him in his mind using the watch as a conduit, were, boring. It didn’t seem realistic.
The book was confusing. A lot of the times spirits were jumping from body to body and you couldn’t keep up with who was who and who he was chasing and who he wanted to protect. A book of this size would normally take me a day and a half at most to get through. Quicker if I really enjoyed it. It took me 4 days to struggle through this. Unnaturally for me I would find other things to do rather than read it. I hate that.
I can’t even think of more to say to make my review long and rambling as I normally do.
In summary: interesting plot. Weak execution of it. Boring narrative. Uninteresting characters. Too confusing at times and not nearly enough action to keep the story going. Oh and a distinct lack of horror for a horror novel.
This picks up 1.5 stars from me. It only gets 1.5 because I normally keep 1 for books I don’t finish. I finished this one but it was a struggle.
★.5 Lucky I finished it.
★ There was an episode of Spongebob that scared me more.
You can buy Shade City: The Dead Side Blues here:
For Dante Butcher, Los Angeles ghost hunting isn't a business, it's a pastime. Going to clubs, knocking back a few drinks, even taking the occasional punch are all in a night's work. But cool confidence doesn't prepare Dante for what begins in a piss-soaked bathroom. The Dead Side opens up a whole new world to him, and for the first time, it's the ghosts that are hunting Dante.
Like most authors, Domino Finn was once a kid. Instead of regaling you with a cute story about his early efforts at writing (actual title: Dinosaur Island), it might be more illuminating to explore his thoughts on pop culture. Domino grew up surrounded by fantasy. There was magic in his books, his movies, and his video games, and it was awesome. But the prevailing attitudes relegated all of it to kid stuff, and that didn't sit well with this kid.
Domino strived to create aged-up versions of his favorite games, comics, and books. Eventually, his passions led to Los Angeles and a career as a video game programmer. But something was missing, and after a decade in the industry, Domino realized that his first love was telling stories. Just not the same kinds of stories.
You can see more about Domino at his website.
Domins's author page can be found here.