As Lie the Dead

( 62 )

Overview

Evangeline Stone, a rogue bounty hunter, never asked for a world divided between darkness and light . . .
 
. . . or the power to die and live again in someone else’s borrowed body. After a murder plot meant to take her out leaves an entire race of shapeshifters nearly extinct, Evy is gnawed by guilt. So when one of the few survivors of the slaughter enlists her aid, she feels duty-bound to help—even ...

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Overview

Evangeline Stone, a rogue bounty hunter, never asked for a world divided between darkness and light . . .
 
. . . or the power to die and live again in someone else’s borrowed body. After a murder plot meant to take her out leaves an entire race of shapeshifters nearly extinct, Evy is gnawed by guilt. So when one of the few survivors of the slaughter enlists her aid, she feels duty-bound to help—even though protecting a frail, pregnant shifter is the last thing Evy needs, especially with the world going to hell around her.

Amid weres, Halfies, gremlins, vamps—and increasingly outgunned humans—a war for supremacy is brewing. With shifters demanding justice, her superiors desperate to control her, and an assassin on her trail, Evy discovers a horrifying conspiracy. And she may be the only person in the world who can stop it—unless, of course, her own side gets her first.
 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kelly Meding is a real storyteller." —-Patricia Briggs
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553592870
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/27/2010
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 694,182
  • Product dimensions: 7.12 (w) x 11.06 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

            A native of the Delaware seashore, Kelly Meding 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.  After discovering Freddy Krueger at a very young age, Kelly began a lifelong obsession with horror, science fiction, and fantasy, on which she blames her interest in vampires, psychic powers, superheroes, and all things paranormal.  When not writing, she can be found crafting jewelry, enjoying a good cup of coffee, or scouring the Internet for gossip on her favorite television shows. 

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Friday, 5:56 a.m.

Deep red bled into the predawn sky above the defunct Olsmill Nature Preserve, and I didn’t want to be around when the sun fully rose above the mountain treetops. Once sunlight hit the plethora of vampire and Halfie bodies strewn around the sea of pavement that surrounded the preserve’s Visitors’ Center, it was game over. I’d smelled burning vampire bodies—acrid and heavy, like scorched rubber. More than forty corpses littered the ground, victims of last night’s semi-epic battle.

They’d smell it in the city all day.

I wandered away from the grisly mess, back toward the line of Jeeps that created a barrier between the carnage and the dense forest, past the human Hunters collecting goblin corpses for the bonfire. I wanted out before they lit that, too. Even dead and rotting as they were, just the sight of the hunched, oily-skinned goblin warriors set my skin crawling.

Voices on the forest side of the Jeep trickled over.

“. . . you see how she got them inside the Visitors’ Center?”

“People can’t teleport. That’s impossible.”

“Can’t come back from the dead, either, but she did.”

“Like a friggin’ zombie or something.”

“She moves too fast to be a zombie.”

I was being discussed. Not surprising. How often did a Dreg Bounty Hunter get brought back from the dead, lead an attack on a possessed elf, discover she could teleport, and continually heal from wounds that would kill any regular human being? We lived in a city where magic existed, where teenagers were recruited to kill the beasts of nightmares, and the only way those guys could understand my existence was to go Romero on me?

Terrific.

The two gossipers shuffled to my side of the Jeep, carrying a goblin corpse between them. They froze when they saw me. I knew their faces but not their names. Each Triad unit consisted of three Hunters, with each unit working independently of one another and overseen by a trained Handler. Handlers kept in contact with other Handlers, but anonymity among Hunters protected us from attack by our enemies.

Today’s mass battle in the mountains north of the city was the first time I’d seen more than three Triads in one place, ever.

I narrowed my eyes at the pair and lowered my voice to a guttural growl. “Mmm, brains.”

The taller of the two grunted, his thickly lashed eyes going wide. His companion, shorter by several inches and with skin the color of strong coffee, snorted. He seemed the most familiar, and it finally struck me where I’d seen him before—Burger Palace. He belonged to a Handler named Rhys Willemy and had helped arrest my own Handler two days ago.

Huh.

They continued carrying their burden toward the bonfire pit to add more organic fuel to what was sure to be a disgusting fire. As they wandered off to collect the next corpse, I was glad I wasn’t required to help with cleanup.

Probably my reward for, you know, stopping the bad guy and keeping a demon from running amok.

I turned my attention back to the sprawl of dead things in front of me. My target hadn’t been collected. Kelsa’s broken body had shriveled from blood loss. The fuchsia liquid gelled on the blacktop around the goblin Queen to create a kind of paste. It squelched around my sneakers, which were already stained with blood and dirt. I breathed through my mouth, but it didn’t help. The cloying seawater stench was thick enough to taste.

The goblins would be furious when they learned of her death. I knew little about the specific hierarchy within hidden goblin society, but Kelsa was a rare and revered female. She’d led a horde of warriors. She had orchestrated the goblins’ end of Tovin’s plan to summon a demon. She had power within the goblin ranks. And I had killed her—payback for killing me last week. It was only a matter of time before they regrouped and came after me.

Again.

“Evy?”

I did a careful one-eighty in the puddle of blood. Wyatt Truman—my Handler and the man who’d almost become a demon suit—walked across the pavement toward me, and I nearly tackled him with another hug. Nearly. One sleeve of his shirt was stained red, darkening as it dried—a constant reminder of how I’d felt an hour ago when he’d been shot with an anticoagulant bullet and had died in my arms. A constant reminder, also, of the power of the gnome healing magic that had brought him back to me.

“How’re those?” he asked, pointing at my stomach.

My hand went to the torn, soaked fabric of my T-shirt. Below it, scabbed slash marks were slowly healing—gifts from my throw-down with Kelsa. An inch deeper and she would have gutted me, and I doubted my healing ability could have saved me from having my intestines stomped all over the blacktop. An ability I seemed to have retained, even though my three days were up. The bite on my ankle, the cuts on my cheek, and other gashes across my torso and legs were also healing, creating an itchy sensation not unlike rolling in dry grass.

“I’ve had worse,” I replied. “You ready to get out of here? Sun’ll be up soon.”

“Yeah, there was just one thing I wanted to do first.”

“Which is?”

Another pair of Hunters strode past us. One walked with his shoulders slumped, head turned away. Wyatt reached out and tapped him on the shoulder. The kid stopped and looked up. I saw his swollen lip an instant before Wyatt’s fist slammed into his nose. The kid squealed and stumbled backward, hands covering his face. Blood streamed between his fingers and down his chin.

“Wyatt,” I said. He glared at me and I glared right back. Like I cared if he punched that little shit in the nose. “I already did that.”

Wyatt shrugged. “Hey, you got to kill the bitch who killed you. Give me something here.”

“You have a good, if somewhat morbid, point.”

“You broke my nose,” the kid who’d fired that fatal anticoagulant shot said. Though muffled beneath his hands, it sounded closer to “You bruk by doze.”

“Hey, Truman! Ease up, will you?” Adrian Baylor’s question was barked from a brief distance. The burly Handler strode toward us from the other end of the Jeep line, bristling like an angry dog. “The kid’s a week out of Boot Camp, and it was an accident.”

“The kid,” Wyatt said, “is too skittish to be using live rounds. Who the hell’d he pay to graduate?”

“The kid has a fucking name,” snarled the kid in question. Color flamed both cheeks. He’d dropped his hands, allowing his broken nose to bleed freely. Half a foot shorter than Wyatt, he stood up like the class nerd facing down the playground bully. For a rookie, he had brass ones.

Wyatt crossed his arms over his chest. “Which is?”

“Paul Ryan.”

“Okay, then.” Wyatt tilted his head toward Baylor. “Paul Ryan is too skittish to be in the field with live ammo.”

Paul’s entire face turned beet red.

Baylor growled low in his throat—a challenge. “Yeah, I’m sure I’ll be taking training advice from a guy who got his whole team killed.”

Wyatt flinched. I tensed, expecting more punches. Or at the very least, a couple of choice insults. When nothing happened, I got pissed. For Wyatt and for me, being one of the three dead people referenced in Baylor’s snarky comment.

I was across the blood puddle and in Baylor’s face before anyone could stop me. I balled my fist in the front of his black turtleneck and leaned in until we were nose to nose. I’d just crossed an unspoken line of code among Hunters and Handlers, but I didn’t much care. It’s not like I worked for them anymore.

“Our deaths were not Wyatt’s goddamn fault, understand? You fucking asshole.” I let him go, and he stumbled back a step.

“Evy, stop,” Wyatt said.

I rounded on him, my hands clenched. His shoulders had slumped. He didn’t seem angry anymore, only sad, but that just fueled my anger. “Why, Wyatt? Our deaths were not your fault.”

“Yeah.” His tone said otherwise, but it wasn’t a fight I was prepared to relive in front of the others. Maybe not again until I’d had a few days’ sleep. I thought he’d accepted the fact that Jesse and Ash, my late Triad partners, had been killed as part of a larger plan. Their deaths—and, ultimately, mine as well—were orchestrated, unpreventable. Not his fault. Not my fault, either.

Yeah, not my fault. Maybe if I said that a few more times, I’d even believe it.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 62 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Could not put this one down!

    This book was seriously awesome! Awe-some! Read it in one day, despite having a giant to-do list and a stack of TBR books glaring at me for ignoring them. Couldn't help it, because once I read the synopsis, I simply had to download it to my nook and read immediately. Did I mention that it was awesome?

    The story picks up shortly after Three Days to Dead, but I think you'd be able to follow it without reading the first book. However, both books are great reads, so I recommend reading them in order so you can get the full experience.

    Really like Evy, who is still trying to adjust to being in another person's body. While she was a highly trained hunter in her original body, her new body doesn't respond the same way and that's a distinct disadvantage during a fight. There's also the freaky factor of feeling another person's reactions and emotions every now and again.

    Evy is going through quite an adjustment, has an overflowing plate, but is still able to get the job done without coming off like an annoying superhero. Despite her awesomeness, Evy is still relatable and sympathetic. Although she would probably kick your butt if she thought you were pitying her!

    Gave this one a 5/5 as I couldn't put it down once I started! Loved the characters, great writing, fast paced plot, and thought it was a great continuation to the series! Looking forward to the next book, as I can't wait to see what happens next with Evy, Wyatt, and the triads/dregs relationship!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2012

    Amazing!!

    Ive read all 4 books, and will leave the same review for each. this isnt going to be a review but more of an opinion.
    If you like Urban fantasy, these books are up there with the best of them. I enjoyed reading this series as much as I enjoyed Kim Harrisons Rachel Morgan books and Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega books. yep, this stuff is just as good. they were pretty hard to put down. We can only hope theres going to be more of Evy Stone!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2013

    This is the first book in the series I've read and I'm looking f

    This is the first book in the series I've read and I'm looking forward to reading the rest. If you enjoy fast paced paranormal suspense this book is for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Loved it

    Enjoyed as much as first book, excited to read the next book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    Recipe for Paranormal Suspense

    "As the silence drew out, the tension became a tangible thing, wrapping cold, icy fingers around my heart and squeezing tight." Not only is this an excellent example of Ms. Meding's ability to show you exactly how her first-person heroine was feeling, it is a perfect description of how I felt in a quiet room reading this edge-of-your-seat novel.

    I was captured by this story-from the vibrant collage on the front cover with the menacing, winged creature, to the vast detailed depictions of each action sequence, to the way the narrative kept me teetering always just on the edge of a suspenseful confusion, to her complicated world of varied paranormal creatures constantly with changing alliances.
    This world was so complicated, so diverse, as was each of the characters that it lent itself well to the genre. The tension built because of the amazing way it all played out. The triangle of sexual tension Meding creates between the first person female narrator, Evangeline and her two, constant heroes was fraught with emotional depth, vast back stories and intricate circumstances.

    The book was a recipe for paranormal suspense. The surprises never stopped coming as if making a pact with the devil was not enough. If the author used one, I would love to see the storyboard for this one. Simply put, read it. And, although not absolutely necessary, I was blown away by it enough to feel confident in recommending reading "Three Days Dead" first. Just buy them both at one time and save yourself the trip.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    Fast paced urban fantasy

    I love this series. Cant wait to read the next in this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great fast-paced action Urban Fantasy with fun characters and twist you wont see coming.

    We start exactly where Three Days to Dead ends. Evy is leaving the field of the epic battle she just fought, along side Vampires and other Hunters and Handlers. The battle appears to have taken its toll on all races involved, by the dead she sees around her. This will affect the numbers of the Halfings, Goblins, and the Hunters as well. The Halfings have now moved up on the enemy list to number 1 and Vampires are a temporary ally. Evy just wants a weeks worth of sleep to make up her lack of sleep before the battle.

    Evy now takes on another mission to help save a Handler from the torture and eminent death at the hands of another race of creatures, to prove he is not the one guilty for the near extinction of a race of creatures in the city. There's a debate of whether the Handler's are the murderers or not, since they take the order from the Brass and pass it on to the Hunters who do the chore.

    But... Who is Evy to turn to when her boss's and her enemies both have tried to kill her... and succeeded the first time around? Is there someone inbetween?

    Evy now has to learn to handle Chalice's memories, good and bad, that are now ever present in her head and still popping up as she goes. Then we also have those mysterious Owlkins. Do you remember those? They made a brief mention in Three Days to Dead. Well, we learn a lot more of them in this book. And they are really neat!

    I have to admit right here at the beginning... I LOVED reading this book! This is a second book in the Dreg Series, but it does NOT suffer the middle child syndrome at all. This is a great book in its own. This was one I could not and did not want to put down. I was afraid I would miss out on action if I did, like I was watching a movie and couldn't leave the screen - not even for a commercial.

    With the way Kelly picks up in this book she does NOT skip a beat. In the first chapter, of 19 pages, I am right back to where I was at the end of the first book. She brings up all the same thoughts and feelings for the characters easily here by the characters actions and the refresher I need. Particularly for Evy and Wyatt, which surprised me to be right back to these feelings and thoughts so fast. Then out of the blue... a brand new character that makes a big bang introduction! I love this new character! Amazing first chapter, very well done. This chapter starts the frantic pace rolling from here, as it never stops with the story moving forward and the action.

    The character relationships start to come to the surface more in this book. I felt a better understanding of the Handlers here and even of the Hunters too. I liked how the relationships between the characters grew. Even that line between black and white for Evy starts to grow a little gray on the relationships with different Dregs and even her place in this world.

    As the story progresses quickly, I pulled my questions of the mystery a section, the ones to keep me wanting more. Then, I read a section where I got answers that where accompanied with great action. And more questions came in again, with an ending that answers all questions and pulls it all together.

    The book is such a fast paced moving read! Kelly never leaves us with a dull moment, with the action packed world Evy lives in. Not only is there loads of action, but details of the different creatures in the Dreg world too. And yes, you learn more on those all powerful Handlers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    great urban fantasy

    After waking up in someone else's body on a slab in the morgue, Hunter Evy Stone's first case was to solve who killed her and her still dead Triad partners (see Three Days to Dead). Evy still struggles with the memories and previous lifestyle of her new body; that of Chalice Frost while physically and emotionally healing from injuries and her own body's death.

    The Assembly of Clan Elders wants all Triad members dead but especially Evy's friend Rufus St, James for his leading their genocide attacks on the Owlkins people. Evy blames herself for the annihilation while she and her former handler Wyatt Truman try to prevent further carnage as they believe Brass is behind the assaults. Feeling some regret as to what happened to the shapeshifters due to what she believes were attacks on her, Evy vows to keep their survivors safe and take down Brass. As an assassin continues to target her and anyone in her sphere or even strangers by happenchance near her, she will soon realize how much she underestimated the problem.

    The second Stone urban fantasy is a great thriller as the heroine further learns betrayal by those she felt in her previous life she could trust is the norm. Evy feels remorse that so many have died especially the shapeshifters all because someone wants her dead. This is her tale of learning how naive she once was as she peels away layers of a conspiracy that leaves her paralyzed with the shock of humanity's brutality. Kelley Meding is a great storyteller.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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