Dead to Me (Simon Canderous Series #1)

Dead to Me (Simon Canderous Series #1)

by Anton Strout

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Overview

A new urban fantasy featuring a man working on the right side of law-with talents that come from left field.

Psychometry-the power to touch an object and divine information about its history-has meant a life of petty crime for Simon Canderous, but now he's gone over to the good side. At New York's underfunded and (mostly) secret Department of Extraordinary Affairs, he's learning about red tape, office politics, and the basics of paranormal investigation. But it's not the paperwork that has him breathless.

After Simon spills his coffee on (okay, through) the ghost of a beautiful woman- who doesn't know she's dead-he and his mentor plan to find her killers. But Simon's not prepared for the nefarious plot that unfolds before him, involving politically correct cultists, a large wooden fish, a homicidal bookcase, and the forces of Darkness, which kind of have a crush on him.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101208717
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/26/2008
Series: A Simon Canderous Novel , #1
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 548,780
File size: 379 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Anton Strout is the author of the Spellmason Chronicles and the Simon Canderous series. He was born in the Berkshire Hills, mere miles from writing heavyweights Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. He currently lives in historic Jackson Heights, New York (where nothing paranormal ever really happens, he assures you). In his scant spare time, he is an always writer, a sometimes actor, sometimes musician, occasional RPGer, and the world's most casual and controller-smashing video gamer. He currently works in the exciting world of publishing and, yes, it is as glamorous as it sounds.

Read an Excerpt

psy•chom•e•try (si-kom'i-tre) n.
1. The power to touch an object and divine information about its history.
2. For Simon Canderous: not as cool as it sounds.

Possessing the power of psychometry has meant a life of petty crime and failed relationships for Simon Canderous, but now he's gone over to the good side. A recent recruit to New York City's underfunded and (mostly) secret Department of Extraordinary Affairs, Simon's learning his way around mazes of red tape, office politics, and the basics of paranormal investigation. But it's not just the paperwork that has him breathless...

After Simon spills his coffee on (okay, through) the mysterious ghost of a beautiful woman—who doesn't know she's dead—he and his mentor decide to track down her killers. But Simon's not at all prepared for the strange and nefarious plot that unfolds before him, one involving politically correct cultists, a large wooden fish, a homicidal bookcase, and the forces of Darkness, which kind of have a crush on him.

My cell phone vibrated to life in the pocket of my brown suede coat and I nearly jumped out of my skin. The last thing I expected in the pre-dawn hours was a phone call on my private line. I pulled it out and checked the display.

CONNOR CALLING.

Connor Christos was my Other Division mentor. He specialized in working with ghosts, but was surprisingly not a part of the Department of Extraordinary Affairs' Haunts-General Division. They took more of a ghost-busting approach to their work, while Connor was more of a spirit spotter and ad-hoc psychologist to the lingering undead, when his lack of patience didn't get in the way. Why he was calling me this time of night, I had no idea.

I flipped my phone open and was greeted by an earful of static.

"Simon!" Connor called out through the choppy signal. "Did... wake...ou, kid?"

"Don't worry," I said. "I was already up."

There was desperation in Connor's voice. The signal on my cell phone continued to break up. It sounded like listening to an old-time radio as it was being flipped through a variety of stations.

"Need... help. Can you meet... University... Seventh?"

Maybe it was the bad connection, but I thought I could hear nervousness in his voice and I didn't like it. Usually he was the calm and collected one.

"University and Seventh?" I repeated. "Yeah, I'm up on Seventy-Ninth, but I can be down there in about ten minutes. Traffic should be light."

"Thanks, kid," he said, "and hurry." The static rose once more and the line fell dead.

Something strange was brewing and a horrible feeling began building in the pit of my stomach. I needed to get moving, but the shady antiques dealer was still taking his sweet time finishing his packing job.

"Can you bubble wrap it?" I asked. "And hurry up. I'm packing for battle."

***

After I hung up with Connor, I jumped a cab and headed downtown. Thirteen minutes later, the cab dropped me off at West Eighth and University and I headed toward Washington Square Park. I looked for signs of Connor, but didn't see him. When I came across a small crowd of drunken late-night tourists fleeing towards Union Square, however, I figured I was on the right track. They jostled their way past me, and I lifted my shopping bag over my head and out of harm's way. A clamor of footsteps and the crash of metal came from the alley between Sixth and Seventh, and I ran toward it while the last of the tourists snapped a few quick pictures.

The alley was filled with a weak yellow light from high overhead and I slowed as I followed the sound, partly out of caution but also because the last few blocks had winded me. I followed the alley along another fifty feet before it turned right. I rounded the corner and found Connor standing a few feet away with his back to me. Something stirring farther along in the darkness had caught his eye. At my approach, he turned and held a single finger to his lips. His muss of sandy brown hair looked more unkempt than usual and there was a strange white streak an inch wide in it that hadn't been there the last time I'd seen him.

"What happened to your hair?" I whispered. Then realization dawned. "You've been skunked!"

"You're kidding," Connor said with an almost schoolboyish glee in his voice. He tugged at his hair, trying to pull it far enough forward to see for himself. "Really?"

"You're excited about it?" I asked. "Makes you look older."

"Course I am," he whispered back, beaming with pride. "You know it's something special to be skunked, kid. A mark of prestige in the Department. It means you looked the devil in the eye and lived to tell about it."

"That's comforting," I said, feeling for the retractable bat hanging from my belt. "So now you're in their elite little Hair Club for Men?"

"They prefer to be called the White Stripes, thank you," Connor shot back.

"I know that, but they're sooo not hip enough to pull that off," I said, adamant.

Connor shushed me and sighed before changing the subject.

"You're late, kid," he whispered. There was a bit of venom to his tone. "And thanks for saying I look older. You're all heart."

I ignored his attitude. "What's the sitch?"

Connor turned back to the dark and unexplored section of the alley.

"I was minding my own goddamn business walking up University," he said, "when I heard a scream. It was hideous—like someone getting their back waxed. Then, out of nowhere, this spectral phantasm appears, streaking up and down the alley and scaring the souvenirs right out of a group of tourists."

I looked at the ground. Shot glasses with the Statue of Liberty on them, "I Heart NY" T-shirts, bootleg copies of cheap Asian porn videos, and postcards showing the New York skyline were scattered all around. There was also an odd assortment of broken clay pieces mixed in with everything, but they didn't look like any kind of tourist chatchke I knew of. I stepped carefully over the mess and moved closer to Connor.

"What's with all the broken pottery?" I asked. "Did someone drop their kiln?"

Connor shrugged. He looked distracted and there was a shortness when he spoke. "That was already here before the tourists dropped all their stuff. Maybe it has something to do with the ghost. I dunno. I'm too busy trying not to die right now."

"Sorry," I said, "but isn't this a job for Haunts-General? Ghosts aren't really my thing. They give me the stone cold heebie-jeebies. I'm not trained for this."

I eyed Connor's streak again and ran my hand through my own jet-black mop of hair, hoping it wouldn't meet the same fate.

"Don't fall apart on me now, kid," Connor said. "You had all the training sessions."

"Training sessions?" I said. I threw my hands up. "The Enchancellors haven't even covered apparitions with me yet. When I asked one of them about ghosts, they handed me a pamphlet entitled Ten Simple Ways Your Job Will Disfigure You! Nothing I've learned at the Department has trained me to tangle with anything like that. If it gets a hold of me as well, the other investigators will be calling us the Skunk Twins."

"Look," Connor said. "No one from Haunts responded and I was nearby..."

A clatter that sounded like overturning garbage cans interrupted him. I stared into the darkness, but in the pitch black of the alley there might as well have been an entire army of zombies riding in giant zombie tanks. Still, if it was zombies, I had at least read a pamphlet on them.

Connor spoke again, this time his voice dropping to an exasperated whisper. "I just happened to be at the wrong place at the right time, okay, kid? There were all these people standing around, snapping pictures of the damn thing like it's some goddamn movie star, so I start moving in on it. It must have sensed I wasn't afraid of it, because it hauled ass down this alley in the opposite direction, which is what I expected. At that point, I figured it could do one of two things: If it was aware it's a ghost, it'd just pass through an alley wall and I'd have lost it, but if it thinks it's still alive, it would feel cornered when the alley dead-ended. It wouldn't have anywhere to go and I could keep it at bay until Haunts-General showed up."

Something in the shadows moved closer, but I still couldn't make out what it was or even where it was. I felt pretty close to useless.

Connor signaled for me to move farther along the right side of the alley. Since he outranked me in the Department and had a hell of a lot more experience, I complied. Connor crept down the other side of the alley, but kept whispering.

"I didn't expect this phantasm to make a break back up the alley toward me, though. Before I could react, it phased right into me, but I resisted its energy. This spirit isn't acting like anything I've ever encountered before. Something weird is up. Now it's cornered somewhere back here."

Keeping a noncorporeal being from passing through an agent hadn't been covered in any of the assigned reading, handouts, or company e-mails.

"It actually phased through you?" I asked. "What did it feel like?"

The thunderous sound of another trashcan overturning rang out. I jumped, hating myself for reacting like such a noob in front of my mentor. Connor didn't even flinch. He tugged at the white streak in his hair again.

"You don't ever wanna feel it, kid. It felt like someone running electrical current straight through me. It was like a billion fist-sized rocks pummeling my body all at once."

He tugged harder at the strand so he could just barely see the ends of it.

"Nice souvenir of a standard op," he sighed. "As if I didn't feel old enough! Well, at least I'm a White Stripe now."

Saying he felt old was ridiculous. Connor was only ten years older than me, although I don't know how I would have reacted if I'd been striped. Hell, there was still a chance it might happen before the night was through.

"We wrap this up soon," I said, mustering the little bravado I could, "and I'm buying the drinks, ‘kay? Maybe it'll cheer you up… old man."

Connor winced at my words and I started to laugh—but quickly slapped a hand over my mouth. Luckily, Other Division had started me out with a pamphlet entitled

Witty Banter to Ease Any Paranormal Situation

. In unpredictable and potentially life-threatening circumstances like this, levity really helped an agent concentrate.

"Kid, this job is going to make me old before my time," Connor said.

"Oh, who are you kidding?" I said. "You'll be dead long before you get old! Now, c'mon!"

I took the lead and crept down the alley toward the weird crashing sound. Connor groaned and played catch-up along the opposite wall.

Something very close to me rustled—much closer than I thought it would be.

"Incoming!" I shouted.

Something closer to living fog than human flew out of the darkness toward us, and it was only my foolish vanity that saved me. My hair, I thought, and back-peddled up the alleyway, narrowly escaping the phantasm's touch as a crackle of electricity from its clawlike hands passed inches from my face. The smell of burning ozone filled the air, and I shuffled farther away.

The barest hint of facial features—deep hollow eyes and a gaping mouth that hung low—floated where the creature's head should have been. Its dead eye sockets bordered on hypnotic. This creature craved the life emanating from me—I could feel it—and it surged with great power toward me. No longer concerned about their breakability, I threw my shopping bag full of antiques at the creature, and pulled the retractable bat from my belt. With a click of a button, I extended it and swung wildly, but it did no good.

All I could do was stare. Through the ghostly form, I could see Connor standing directly behind it. He was fumbling something out of his pocket, but I had no idea what it was. I was too busy backing away to care.

As I continued, my foot hit something solid, and my arms pinwheeled as I fell. My ass hit the ground hard, and my palms scraped against the pavement. The wetness of the puddle beneath me soaked through my clothes and the clamminess chilled my skin. I crab-crawled backward as fast as possible but it was no use. This monstrosity was going to overtake me.

I waited for its chilling touch, but instead the overwhelming smell of patchouli oil washed over the area…and the phantasm's smoky form turned from spectral white to reddish brown. It stopped moving and froze in place inches from my face and I wasted no time scuttering out from underneath it. Connor still stood on the other side of it with an empty vial in his right hand. Tendrils of smoke were drifting like a net around the now-still spirit.

He shook the last of the vial over the creature. It wasn't moving, but that didn't make it any less intimidating. Connor stepped closer to examine it.

"I don't get it," he said, stepping back. "It's gone totally feral. Usually when a spirit lingers, the humanity in it begins to stretch, become almost cartoonish. I can barely make out the humanity here. I don't know what would do this to a spirit, what would cause that much degradation. Unless it has something to do with all those broken clay pieces..."

I grabbed one off the ground and handed it to him. He gave it a cursory once-over and slipped it into his pocket.

"Thanks," he said, circling carefully around the phantasm.

"Thanks?!?" I asked. "For what? I should be thanking you!"

"These things feed on fear, kid. And frankly, I'm too seasoned to go all weak in the knees, so I really couldn't get the drop on it all on my own, you know?"

I dusted the filth of the alley off me as I stood and moved to recover my now dirty bag of collectibles from a nearby pile of debris. The bag looked like crap from the outside but I hoped everything in it would look better once I was home. I was soaked through and pissed.

"So what does that make me in all this, exactly?" I shouted at Connor. "Bait? That's it, isn't it? You knew it would scare the crap out of me, feed off that, and totally forget about you, right?"

Connor shrugged and stoppered the empty vial before slipping it back into his pocket. "That's one way of looking at it."

"And what's another?" I fired back.

Connor slapped me on the shoulder, turning all smiles.

"Calm down, kid. You've been an integral part of this operation. It'll look good on your performance record with the Department. Think of it—the Inspectre might even grant you some sort of commendation."

"I'm not here to be your personal worm on the hook," I said, pulling away.

"I'm sorry, kid," Connor said with a hint of sincerity. "Really."

Connor leaned toward me and brushed his hair over his forehead. The new streak of white was even more pronounced now. "Look, I don't like how this went down, kid, or the fact that we're doing Haunts- General's work, but what are we gonna do? With all the budget cuts, Other Division picks up the slack. It's what puts the Extra in the Department of Extraordinary Affairs."

Connor was right and it really wasn't his fault. We were overworked and caught up in the red tape of New York City bureaucracy. I let go of my anger. After all, my hair had been spared. Who was I to complain?

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Simon Canderous is a reformed thief and a psychometrist. By turns despondent over his luck with the ladies (not always living) and his struggle with the hierarchy of his mysterious department (not always truthful), Simon's life veers from crisis to crisis. Following Simon's adventures is like being the pinball in an especially antic game, but it's well worth the wear and tear."
Charlaine Harris

"Urban fantasy with a wink and a nod. Anton Strout has written a good- hearted send-up of the urban fantasy genre. Dead To Me is a genuinely fun book with a fresh and firmly tongue-in-cheek take on the idea of paranormal police. The laughs are frequent as are the wry smiles. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next."
- Kelly McCullough, author of Cybermancy, Webmage and Codespell

"Part Ghostbusters, part Men-in-Black, Strout's debut is both dark and funny, with quirky characters, an eminently likable protagonist, and the comfortable, familiar voice of a close friend. His mix of (mostly) secret bureaucratic bickering and offbeat action shows New York like we've never seen it before. Make room on the shelf, because you're going to want to keep this one!"
-Rachel Vincent, author of Stray and Rogue

Customer Reviews

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Dead to Me (Simon Canderous Series #1) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
AllisonB More than 1 year ago
Good premise but the writing is so very weak. Strout strives for John Zakour humor but misses entirely. Ghostsniffing is a ripoff of Tim Powers "Expiration Date". His editors must have been on vacation. There are spelling errors ("peaked" for "piqued"), bad grammar ("This was a much different Irene than the one that had attacked me."), peculiar word choices (Simon orders pints of beer in a New York bar) and a stunning ignorance of nutrition (if Simon is hypoglycemic after using his powers, getting legless on "pints" in Chapter 33 would likely kill him). Two characters are murdered and then vanish except for random inserted sentences. Ditto the strange business with the little clay pots. And what's with the 250 words on the Surrealist movement of the 1920s? Doesn't Strout know that if he wanted a wooden fish in his story it could be a symbol for Jesus or Pisces? Yikes. Cardboard characters run around aimlessly for 35 chapters then Simon saves the day between pages 328 and 342 and the tale ends a few pages later. This is not a book for readers who care about style. Harry Dresden or Cal Leandro fans should not touch it even with wards in place.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A friend who knew I was a Harry Dresden fan suggested this book to me. Simon Canderous is a likable hero, who possesses a gift which is selectively useful in the quest for Good. I appreciated Strout's use of humor and the fact that the story doesn't take itself too seriously. While the book is likely targeted toward urban fantasy fans, it may also appeal to readers of light crime fiction who might appreciate a supernatural twist. People who find Dresden too fantasy-heavy might find this book more to their liking. Now that the characters have been established, it will be interesting to see what Strout does with them in subsequent books.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting read. Simon Canderous used to be a petty thief, he's a psychometrist who now works for New York's underfunded and mostly secret Department of Extraordinary Affairs. He finds himself involved in a murder mystery when he spills coffee through a ghost. Things turn into a roller-coaster ride for the characters and the reader.I really did like the convoluted and complicated situations and charcters, it wasn't perfect, but it does show a lot of promise.
Dejah_Thoris on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
[Dead to Me] isn¿t the best urban fantasy I¿ve ever read, but it is far, far from the worst.Simon is a young guy gifted with psychometry, the ability to learn things, by touch, about objects and their owners. Realizing that his activities have crossed over the line to criminal, Simon cleans up his act by joining NYC¿s Department of Extraordinary Affairs. Being one of the good guys is working for Simon, but he can¿t help but wonder if he¿ll ever get the hang of everything, especially the paperwork¿.This is an entertaining book; it¿s funny. It does occasionally slip over into farce or even parody, but I prefer to read something that errs on the side of humor than excessive doom and gloom. Strout actually makes a Poe/Lenore/Raven joke about bad relationships ¿ what¿s not to like?I¿m looking forward to the other books in the series and since my library system doesn¿t carry them, I guess I¿ll have to break down and buy them.
cmwilson101 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dead to Me by Anton Strout is the first book in the Simon Canderous series. Based in New York City, the story revolves around reformed thief Simon, trying to use his power of psychometry (the ability to learn about an object's past via touch) for good by joining the Department of Extraordinary Affairs. The DEA has been set up to protect NY citizens from the supernatural, and to hide the supernatural from ordinary beings. Simon finds his power a mixed blessing, as touching objects and people often leads to debilitating and unwanted visions. He is mentored by Connor, his supervisor at the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, and helps to unravel a mystery with the help of a cultist, a good looking ghost, and an old FOGie. I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. It was fun, and funny, touching and enjoyable. I look forward to reading more.
SharkRodeo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It has been a while since I read this book, however, I do remember enjoying it quite a bit. Simon Canderous can read objects and people with his mind. Similar to Rogue (X-men) reading peoples' memories, Simon can do the same. Once a thief, he's now one of the "good guys" tracking down supernatural criminals for a secret police organization. I normally give more detailed reviews, but it has been months since I read the book. It was a good read and I will likely read the next in the series.
PirateJenny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really liked it. I mean, paranormal romance has taken off in leaps and bounds over the years, but at the core it's still romance. And I just can't abide romance novels. And while Ace labels Dead to Me fantasy, I'd call it paranormal mystery.Our hero is Simon Canderous, former small-time thief who now works for the D.E.A. No, not that DEA, the Department of Extraordinary Affairs (the periods make all the difference, you know). Simon also happens possess the talent of psychometry, which means he can pick up images from inanimate object. Sure, it sounds cool, but just wait till you accidentally bump into one of those inanimate objects during sex. It totally sucks, and not it a good way. And being new to the D.E.A., and seemingly the only psychometrete (I may have just made up a word there) in the organization, it's rather difficult for Simon to control.The D.E.A., naturally, is located in NYC. It makes perfect sense. The general public, of course, doesn't know it exists, which is why it makes sense that it's located here--there's just so much weirdness in NYC that you become completely immune to it and therefore anything supernatural wouldn't register unless you happen to be one of those people who can actually sense these things (I wouldn't be surprised to learn that San Francisco and maybe LA have similar organizations though). The entrance is behind this really awesome place called the Lovecraft Cafe which is a coffee shop/revival movie theater. I want one. (I miss the days when the Film Forum ran horror festivals complete with the William Castle effects.) It's in this cafe that Simon, when speaking with his mentor Connor, sees his first dead person. She doesn't seem dead at all, which really throws Simon, not to mention the ghost. Connor, in fact, has to tell the both of them that she is a ghost. But given she's so strong that she appears alive, and that she has a sort of amnesia that causes her to forget how she died, and that she appeared in the Lovecraft Cafe, there's obviously something to her death that needs solving. And since dead people are Connor's area of expertise, and since Simon is a bit taken with the ghost, it falls to them to discover exactly why she died. Not to mention who exactly she was.There's obviously quite a bit of humor here (including wonderful jokes about Angel and clothing choices), a good mystery with some rather surreal elements, good characterization, and cultists. You can't have a good paranormal mystery without cultists. Oh, excuse me--Sectarians. (They'll always be cultists to me though.) I highly recommend it.
imayb1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's an average urban fantasy with secret societies and official agents all running around New York City attempting to tip the balance toward good or evil.The main character was a thief/con-artist using his psychometry for profit, but now he works for the nominal good guys at the Department of Extraordinary Affairs (DEA), helping people. In my opinion, everything about this book was average and generic. I wasn't enthralled with any of the characters, nor was I sympathetic. The story was initially a bit film-noire with its ghostly damsel in distress, but in truth, it's a mish-mash of standard pieces. I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed both Harry Potter and Xanth, but don't mind modern urban fantasy. For me, the constant puns were grating and somewhat juvenile, so as much as I like the genre, this book wasn't to my taste.
ShadowKissed on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ok, let¿s get down to business shall we? I really enjoyed this book! I won it through goodreads first-reads and was very excited when I got the email saying I had won! Not only did it have an intriguing cover with a dark haired hunk on it, but the synopsis reminded me of the movie Dylan Dog, which I really liked. Simon has the rare power to touch something and be able to see the past that is related to that object. He used have a sketchy past and used his powers to find items that the owner had an emotional attachment to, then sale the items back to them. Although this was very profitable he got caught up with all the wrong people and decided to change his ways and straighten up. When Simon found the Department of Extraordinary Affairs he finally found a place where he could use his powers for good. In a city where zombies and ghost run rampant, it¿s Simon, and his mentor, Connor¿s job to clean up the streets before the rest of the public learns these dark creatures are not just a scary bedtime story. What I liked? My favorite part about Simon¿s power is when he touched something and got sucked into the vision of great historical figures, for instance, Henry the Second of France. Imagine being able to see through the eyes of someone who went through so much! I also was very interested in the plot. Even though all the characters in the book are ones we have all read about (zombies, ghost, and vampires) the author really puts a twist on it, and you can¿t guess what¿s going to happen next. There was even a little love triangle happening, though it was a little impractical because one of them was a ghost (how would that ever work?). The bad? The only part I didn¿t like about the book was not being able to really get a feel on Simon¿s character. He would have moments of deep thought and could be extremely caring, but then he would be a winey brat. Sometimes he would be very emotional and complain in places where a normal man would hold his composer. One minute I would love him and the next I would want to yell at him and tell him to shut up! There were also the very cheesy jokes he felt the need to throw in.All in all I¿m very impressed and loved the witty banter throughout the book! I¿m really looking forward to watching Simon¿s character develop and I think I just might have to get the rest of the series!
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a noir detective book, or a dark supernatural story, or a comedy - it evokes pieces of each, but doesn't really succeed at any. But, its a well written in that the plot is tight and there is consistency, but the world itself is inconsistent and predictable. For example, the D.E.A - the department of Extraordinary Affairs, as a secret official office of the New York's Mayors Office. But the Cops have to acknowledge its existence, and the New York Police department is not small. Also, at times, the Harry Potter type references (pamphlet titled 'Understanding the Fates and many more, a super secret organization called "F.O.G") was annoying. There was even reference to the Chick Lit Urban Fantasy, the character of Jane, for example! The main character was all over the place, I suspect he was suppose to be in his 20's, but he came off as a gay 35 year old antique dealer with a temper, it seemed to go off in all sorts of inappropriate situations where it wasn't called for. I did enjoy the world, but it needs to be a lot more tightly written. I suspect once the author pins down his world and the people who inhabit it, it might be a fine series.
TheLibraryhag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Simon Canderous, former thief, and now member of a secret and underfunded NYC department that explores and controls the supernatural, can "read" objects. He can also see ghosts and that is how he becomes involved in the whole mess revolving around a pretty ghost, who does not know she is dead, ghost-sniffing junkies, and cultist who just want to get along, (so they say).I enjoyed this book. There is action and a nice story. The idea of the beaurocracy of managing supernatural stuff in NYC is played to the hilt, expense accounts and all. Simon is a likeable fellow who is just learning to control his powers and his urge to return to a life a crime. Well it does pay better. And unlike a lot of urban fantasy, there is not so much, well, fantasy that it is hard to keep up with. Enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's clearly the author's first work but still it fails. There's potential here. The main character has interesting abilities with interesting costs but ultimately he makes no sense. He's self described as the calm one between him and his gruff partner but acts as an angsty preteen in most situations, justifying it with the flimsiest of excuses. I feel like if Anton accepted this and developed Simon Canderous accordingly the story would be better but that isn't what happened. Time and time again you are reminded that Simon is supposed to be a self described calm hero as he responds wayyy too emotionally and immaturely to the most simple of problems and blunders into success more than he actually does anything useful. Even his ability to read objects seems underutilized especially since he could use it to make a ton of money without damaging his moral compass instead of the silly chump change job he uses it for. Even all this could be accepted if Anton just bit the bullet and focused on the whys and how's of how his main character Simon deals with his emotionally unstable state and how people respond to it. But instead we are faced with generic cultist bad guys that Simon defeats with the help of generic love interest girl. Ms. Love interest is a more interesting character who works for the cultists simply because they pay well and she doesn't bother to ask questions. In this book she talks merely about how it's just a job and she really doesn't want anyone to get hurt. Nevermind that in subsequent books she will be treated with suspicion and will act the bad girl turned good which totally goes at odds with the emotionally detached "just a job" girl we are introduced to in this book who plays the yin to Simon Canderous's yang. Ultimately it boils down to the question of many books. Are the characters likeable? Do you sympathize with them? In this book I could give the answer to that question with a resounding no. I would never want to be within a block of Simon Canderous. He's that annoying guy at the bar who gets too drunk and emotional and starts telling you about his life when you didn't ask and just want to be left in peace. You won't care then, and you won't care now. You want a likeable character in urban fantasy? Go check out Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. Now that's a guy you'd want to spend some time reading about. But skip this one. It's a waste of your time.
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