|The Residences of the Dead in Falmer, England|
What if death didn't end our lives on Earth? Meet Dan Chambeaux. He's a private investigator who got shot in the head one month ago. Fortunately for him, since an event called the Big Uneasy ten years ago, life goes on for the dead in New Orleans. He's trying to take care of himself, so he frequents a beauty parlor run by morticians, who devote their energies to keeping his hair, skin, and body in peak shape. He doesn't want to be one of those zombies who lets himself go, and have his lips or jaw fall off during an important conversation. Besides, he's got a career, friends who care about him, and a business to run.
As half of Chambeaux and Deyer Investigations, Dan's working a full caseload. Take, for example, the ghost trying to revive his art career. When his family steal his latest masterpiece, Dan tracks the canvas down to the artist's crypt. Trolls have taken up residence there, but Dan peers through the doorway and spies the painting hanging on the wall. The Trolls are willing to exchange the painting for legal ownership to the crypt, but Dan doesn't want to carry the painting out of the cemetery that night. A werewolf, hired by the artist's family, waits among the graves, and being a zombie, Dan can't risk skin and tissue damage from a werewolf attack. Oh, the dilemma!
Or consider the case of a vampire who lives in Little Transylvania. He's relying on Dan to protect him and find his fellow vampires (if they haven't yet been "killed"), so that he can return to his carefree life as an interior designer. Dan suspects the vampires might have vanished of their own accord, as his client obsessively tried to organize them into dinner parties (Note: his client, a former Vegan, only drinks Soy Blood), book discussion groups, and other social events every day of the week. Still, he's concerned by the threatening notes and sharpened wooden stakes left outside the vampire's apartment. Someone might really be after the guy!
While he's working for others, he's also digging into police files and running down leads on his own death. He may still be alive, with embalming fluid pumping through his veins, and bullet wounds sealed over with putty, but it'd ease his mind to learn who had it out for him and why. After all, someone might also be after his partner, the idealistic lawyer Robin Deyer. She may take pro bono cases to defend the rights of the undead, but she'd prefer to remain among the living. And then there's Sheyenne to consider. She may be the best office manager he and Robin ever had, but whoever poisoned her is still at large. He'd do anything for his former girlfriend; her ghostly presence always brings a smile to his face.
I'm currently a quarter of the way into Death Warmed Over, the first novel about Dan Chambeaux, or Dan Shambles as most people call him. I can tell you this: when I'm not laughing out loud, I'm at least smiling. After watching what happened to James Bond in "Live And Let Die," I wasn't sure I wanted to visit New Orleans. But Kevin J Anderson makes the city sound interesting and fun. If this light-hearted undead detective series sounds like something you'd enjoy, head over to Amazon.com, where you can currently download this novel for free. Yes, you read right: For FREE. After all, whether or not you're still breathing, you've still got to feed the need to read. Right?