Deadworld by J. N. Duncan

Released: April 1, 2011
Format: Mass market paperback
Publisher: Kensington

Series: Deadworld #1

Source: Personal shelf

She’s as tough as anything haunting Chicago’s streets. But to deal with an inhuman power that won’t stay buried, this FBI agent needs help that comes at an immortal price. . .

Jackie Rutledge has seen her share of supernatural killers. But her latest murder case is what recurring nightmares are made of. Brutally exsanguinated human victims, vanishing-into-the-ether evidence, and a city on the edge of panic mean that she and her psychic partner, Laurel, are going to need more than just backup . . .

So Jackie is fine with any help rugged P.I. Nick Anderson can give–even if that includes the impish ghost and sexy vampire who make up his team. But Nick is hiding secrets of his own. And Jackie’s investigation has plunged them both into a vengeful game reaching back centuries–and up against a malevolent force hungry for more than just victory. . .

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is my first time reading J. N. Duncan and I’ve come out of it with very mixed feelings. There were lots of cool aspects to the book but there were also some things that I couldn’t get behind.

Let’s start with the positive. J. N. Duncan has a nice take on vampires. The idea that they’re constantly fighting the pull of Deadworld is neat and original. I liked that the good vampires, Nick and Shelby, wear contact lenses to protect people from their gaze. It’s always fun to hear a new spin on vampires.

Nick is a fairly typical male lead: he’s weighed down by his past, has pockets lined with money, wants to mitigate his vampiric nature by not drinking human blood. Shelby is his faithful sidekick and I really appreciated her spunk. She made the novel really enjoyable, as did Laurel, Jackie’s partner and best friend. In fact, I think Laurel was my favourite character in the novel. She’s sweet and reasonable and warm. My least favourite character? Jackie. And this is why it’s hard for me to find more positive things to say about Deadworld. Jackie is smart but she’s bogged down by her past and she abuses herself to deal with it. It was hard to read — at times, I couldn’t believe what she did — and I really didn’t like living in her headspace. If you’ve been following the blog, you know I like dark books and dark characters but there was very little about Jackie that I found redeeming for a large part of the novel. She started to grown on me towards the end, as she went through her character arc, but she’s definitely not one of my favourite protagonists.

I may try this series again at some point but I may need a break for a while…


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4 responses to “Deadworld by J. N. Duncan”

  1. Melissa (My words and pages) says :

    Nice well rounded review. 🙂 Thank you. I’ve seen this one and would like to give it a go one day. Thank you!

  2. jnduncan says :

    Jenn, you aren’t the first person to have commented on the harshness of Jackie. I wanted to make a character that was a bit thorny and needed to do a lot of growing, and she does indeed need it. She has a trainful of baggage. Might be my degree in psychology and an interest in looking at troubled souls. Anyway, for some, I can see how she might be a bit too dark for some readers. I do hope though you’ll continue the series, as she continues her growth arc. Deadworld took place over a pretty short period of time, and there was no way to adequately deal with her issues (no hero is that good, lol) in that time frame. Emotional difficulties can take a while, and Jackie is no exception. I hope it’s rewarding for those who stick with her. I’ve enjoyed making her struggle and grow to this point.

    Thank you for the thoughtful review.

  3. jenn says :

    @Melissa: Thanks!

    @J.N.: Thanks for your comment! I do have the next book in my TBR pile and I’m so happy to know that Jackie’s going to grow. Now I’m looking forward to it for sure!

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  1. Posted in 2011 | I READ GOOD - January 2, 2012

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