Working Stiff - Rachel Caine

Initially, I thought I'd found in "Working Stiff" a new Urban Fantasy series to carry me through this year. The twist on the zombie trope was original, the ex-soldier, aspiring Funeral Director female lead seemed promising and the dead were handled in a way that seemed factual and emotionally distant without becoming weird.


The plot continued to twist and turn and our heroine found herself in peril in many places and from many people. Things should have been good, Then everything started to sag. The story dragged. Routine romantic elements were added that developed neither the plot nor the characters. New characters, important to moving the plot along, popped up rapidly and with little explanation. None of the characters really developed beyond the pen-sketch level.


The book had the potential to be very dark, The main character is confronted with the very real prospect of slowly rotting to death. The process is described in some detail. The people making the threats are deeply unpleasant. Yet the novel kept drifting in a current of light banter and hate-him/love-him superficial romance.


I persisted to the end because the novel always felt like it was on the edge of realising its potential. Then I realised that I reading an extended pilot episode, intended to set up a season of novels, which meant the denouement, while plausible, didn't grant me any i sense of resolution.


Overall, this felt like a sponge that has failed to rise, a little too doughy and undercooked to be satisfying. At the moment, even though the set-up for the series is intriguing, I'm not inclined to add the next two Revalist books to my TBR pile.