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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kelly Meding: DREG CITY

Author:  Kelly Meding
Series:  DREG CITY
Plot Type:  Urban Fantasu (UF)
Publisher and Titles:  Dell
           Three Days to Dead (2009)
           As Lie the Dead (2010)
           Another Kind of Dead (2011)
           Wrong Side of Dead (1/2012)

This post was revised and updated on 3/17/12 to include a review of the Wrong Side of Dead.

     In this world, the supernaturals are ruled by the Fey Council in tandem with  the human police. Evangeline (Evy) Stone is a member of one of the Triads—groups of three who work for a secret unit of the Metro Police Department, hunting down and killing Dregs: rogue goblins, vampires, and halfling vampires (i.e., humans bitten by vampires, aka halfies, half-bloods). when Evy's team members are killed in a battle with some Dregs, the other Triads turn on  her and hunt her down, killing most of her protectorsthe innocent Owlkin clanin the process.  

     The organization that runs the Triads does so in a strict, efficient, cold-hearted manner. It locates potential Hunters when they at their lowest point of existence and then recruits them with promises of a better life. Evy was recruited when she was on the verge of leaving a juvenile detention facility with a hopeless future before her. New recruits are sent to Boot Camp, a compound surrounded by barbed wire and filled with obstacle courses and training facilities. In order to graduate from Boot Camp, each Hunter must pass the final exam, which forces them to kill a fellow class member. (It kind of reminded me of the teens' situations in the Hunger Games arena.) Even if a Hunter graduates, he or she has a life expectancy of just 3-4 years. It's definitely a hard life, and the Hunters are a stone-cold, emotion-repressed group of highly skilled killers.

           BOOK 1: Three Days to Dead            
     Evy rises from the dead in the city morgue with a temporary (or maybe permanent) new body and no memory of the events leading up to her own death. Evy's new body belonged to a woman named Chalice Frost, who committed suicide. The plot is actually a countdown that follows Evy's efforts to unravel the mystery of her death and her friends' deaths in the 74 hours before she dies againthis time for good.   

           BOOK 2: As Lie the Dead           
     One of Evy's friends is in danger of wrongful execution, and the only way to save him is to discover who ordered the raid that resulted in the Owlkins' deaths in the previous book. Evy's love interest is Wyatt Truman, a powerful mage who is the Handler for her Triad, and their relationship has the usual UF ups and downs because of their respective self-esteem issues.

           BOOK 3: Another Kind of Dead           
     Evy is keeping a low profile because only five people know that she survived a fierce factory fire (in the previous book) that was set specifically to kill her. As the book opens, Evy and Wyatt are keeping to themselves and are not trusting any of the other Triads. Events soon alter their plans, though, and when a dying Sprite tells them of a betrayal, they must bring a few trusted Triads into their confidence in order to fully investigate the matter. Soon, they discover that when the Triads dismantled a mad scientist's laboratory (also in the previous book), the scientist himself escaped and is now creating hybrid monsters that are totally under his command. When the psychotic scientist kills a handler and leaves a mysterious message for Evy, her life, once again, goes straight downhill. The plot follows Evy, Wyatt, and a small group of Triads as they attempt to capture the bad guy and put an end to his research. Unfortunately, the villain is brilliant as well as psychotic, so their task is far from easy. Evy suffers endless physical and emotional battering throughout this book. Her newly developed healing powers help her physically, but not mentally, so her emotional state is tenuous at best all the way through this adventure. As the story reaches its climax, Evy is put into a situation in which she must choose between the life of a friend and a future with Wyatt.

     Click HERE to go to a page on the authors web site with links to three free short stories linked to this series: "Pride before Fall" (a prequel); "The Hoarder" (Evy's early days as a Triad); and "Betrayal by the Hour" (a deleted scene from Three Days to Dead). Click HERE to read the author's blog.  

           BOOK 4: Wrong Side of Dead            
By this point in the series, the Triads have fallen apart due to the suicides of their top directors, all of whom turned out to be traitors. Evy and the surviving Triads have joined an alliance of the three races: humans, vampires, and Therians (shifters). Their headquarters and living quarters are in an abandoned shopping mall that they call the Watch Tower. The story line begins at the end of July as Evy is back on the job, having mostly recovered from her horrendous torture at the hands of Walter Thackery. As the story opens, Evy and several other Triads are undercover at a Rave, where they are on the hunt for Halfies. When Felix shows up, they capture him and take him back to headquarters for questioning. Felix was once a Triad but he was bitten just weeks ago by a Halfie and is now condemned to death—as are all Halfies. Evy discovers that Felix is not totally insane like most of the Halfies, and she suspects that Thackery has discovered a drug that keeps Halfies sane and under his control. 

    The story then shifts back to late June, just after Evy escaped from Thackery's torture, giving the reader a glimpse of the events that brought Evy to her current situation. The story shifts back and forth between the events of late June and late July, so the reader must pay attention to the dates at the beginnings of the chapters in order to keep straight just where Eve is in time.

    The plot involves, once again, the search for Thackery, who now has added a horde of Lupa (aka werewolves) to his team of thugs. Lupa were thought to be extinct, but it turns out that Thackery has secretly been training them for several years. At one point, Evy's boyfriend, Wyatt Truman, has a life-changing experience with one of the Lupa. Romance is a big part of the plot, as Evy and Wyatt go from intense love to barely speaking and back again. When Thackery kidnaps several Therians and poisons some vampires, the action heats up. As the story plays out, the alliance uncovers more and more of Thacker's secrets and the identies of his behind-the-scenes supporters. 

     Click HERE to read the first four chapters of Wrong Side of Dead (55 pages).

1 comment:

  1. Book 3, "Another Kind of Dead" was released on 07/26/2011.

    Book 4 is scheduled for 2012.