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Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson – Review – Douglas Cobb
In the Paranormal Urban Fantasy novel Unnatural Acts, by the best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson, Detective Dan Shamble (aka: Dan Chambeaux), Zombie P.I., takes on the cases of many of these Unnaturals, who have nowhere else to turn in their times of need: ghosts, golems, mummies, and more. Will his unique skills as a zombie detective be enough, though, to handle the prejudice that the Unnaturals face from Senator Rupert Balfour and his proposed Unnatural Acts Act? And, will the Unnatural Quarter ever be the same when the ugly spectre of commercialism rears it head in the form of the Smile Syndicate?
Supernatural trouble is brewing in the Unnatural Quarter of the Big Uneasy, as New Orleans has come to be called after the undead and other ghouls and monsters have become a major portion of its populace ten years ago. They face prejudice, fear, and sometimes outright hatred from the humans, and some humans–such as Senator Balfour and his followers–even label them as being “sinners” and “immoral” and seek to impose regulations against them.
Balfour’s constituents show up at various Unnatural get-togethers, like the Shakespeare in the Dark performances that ghosts put on at the Greenlawn Cemetery. They carry picket signs that say things on them like: God Hates Unnatural. Also, his followers have taken to picketing and protesting Full Moon Escort Services, distributing flyers that declare terrible things like You Are Damned! When the protesting goes beyond the picketing and harassment stage, to throwing rocks through windows and destroying the mummy Madam, Neffi’s, mummified cats which she considers to still be her pets, are these new attacks still the work of Belfour’s supporters–or, some other group?
Dan Shambles, or Chambeaux–”Beaux” as he’s called sometimes by his ghostly girlfriend, Sheyenne–is asked by Neffi to provide protection for her brothel. Also, a ghost who claims to be the ghost of Shaekspeare, who operates the troupe of ghostly actors who stage the performances at the Greenlawn Cemetery, wants Detective Shambles to find out who burned their stage, which was a replica of the globe Theater, which suffered the same fate centuries ago.
Besides these cases, Shambles is asked by a golem called Bill to help free hundreds of other golems who have been enslaved iun a magical sweat-shop by the necromancer, Maximus Max. They have been created and forcibly employed by Maximus to make tacky tourist souvenirs advertising the Unnatural Quarter. He’s been hired by the Smile Syndicate, who are trying to attract more tourists to the Unnatural Quarter. The line of souvenirs are labelled “Kreepsakes.”
The Smile Syndicate even buys a local goblin tavern, and fire the sole female bartender who has worked there for years. They claim that a monster bartender would be better at attracting more tourists, though the goblin owner who sells the Smile Syndicate the tavern had tried using Unnaturals in the past, without much success. They’d quit after working for just a short time. Dan Shambles hates the way they’re trying to homogenize the Unnatural Quarter and take it over.
The beautiful and buff African-American vampire attorney, Robin, is another main character in Unnatural Acts. Dan has used her services before, in the first book of the series, Death Warmed Over. Her legal services prove to be useful yet again in Unnatural Acts, in emancipating the golems, and in other ways. She takes in the golem, Bill, for awhile, and has him help her with odd jobs and renovating her basement, until he is able to find other employment.
We learn in Unnatural Acts more about Sheyenne’s mysterious past and her family, as well. She hadn’t wanted to talk much about them before, even to her boyfriend, Dan. When her brother, Travis, shows up, Shambles discovers why she hadn’t wanted to talk about him–he’s an opportunisitic con man who only wants to get back into Sheyenne’s life–er, make that afterlife–in order to get his mother’s jewelery to pawn and to benefit himself in other ways.
Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson is a fun-filled Paranormal Urban Fantasy which fans of Death Warmed Over and Kelley Armstrong, Simon R. Green, Jonathan Maberry, and Charlaine Harris will want to add to their supernatural library collections. It’s filled with tongue-in-cheek humor, as well as being a suspenseful, page-turning read that will captivate you from the first page to the last. Anderson is perhaps best known as a science fiction author, who has co-written several books in the Dune series, has won the coveted bram Stoker Award, and has written many awesome science fiction novels like The Last Days of Krypton and Resurrection, Inc. He has co-written several other novels, like the Hellhole series, with Brian Herbert and The Craig Kreident Mysteries, with Doug Beason. If you enjoy reading quirky, off-beat paranormal tales, I highly recommend that you check out Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson.