Series: H&W Investigations #5
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Zebra on 2 July 2013
The concept behind Forsaken by the Others was intriguing but I found the execution a little lacking. Royce sends private investigator Shiarra West and her sidekick Sara to Los Angeles for their own protection. Clyde, the vampire looking after them, demands they investigate a zombie infestation within his territory. He won’t however give the ladies the tools they need to track down the necromancer properly and seems to know much more than he is letting on.
Shia is a highly unusual human as she has been bound to two vampires and been infected with lycanthropy. I wanted to like her but we are treated to six chapters of introspection while she feels guilty over her past actions and worries about being bound to a vampire that adores her. The supernatural fluids coursing through her veins are at war with each other causing her to bleed black gunk. Her hubris annoyed me as I couldn’t see what gave her the right to instigate such a change the supernatural political situation in L.A. She was willing to sacrifice just about everyone as a way of ‘redeeming’ herself. The vampires are suitably enigmatic or mad while the werewolves are overly passionate. I wish the supes were less stereotypical and offered something new or at least different to this genre.
There were a few things with the plot that just had me scratching my head. Why didn’t Royce ensure the place he was sending Shia and Sara was safe? Why help Clyde when Royce had already negotiated a deal? Why did Shia and Sara search their guest house for listening bugs only once and then assume they had neutralised the threat? Why not organise a secure method of contacting Royce in case Clyde tried to cut them off? Why did two bad-ass women spend so long quaking in fear? Why was everyone so eager (apart from the vamps) to point Shia and Sara in exactly the right direction? Surely detective work is normally a bit harder.
The pacing felt unbalanced as we had such a long and slow lead in before things started to get interesting. The novel begins with Shia and Royce in bed seemingly picking up on where the last novel ended. For someone who hasn’t read any of the other novels, it was fairly disconcerting reading a very long conversation without knowing the context. Forsaken by Others ends on a cliff-hanger which I normally detest but at least we had a solid climax and denouement before the introduction of a new element. It felt a little Perils of Pauline-ish as if this book was part of a serial rather than a book in its own right.
Fans of this series will no doubt pick up the constant references to important stuff that was revealed in prior novels and enjoy the initial Shia and Royce heart-to-heart. I had too many ‘what the..?’ moments which overrode my enjoyment of the zombie horde and political machinations.