Hey look, it’s an urban fantasy that actually takes place in a realistic urban setting. There are people of many ethnicities and the city has pockets of different cultures. These writing choices by Daniel José Older really lend the fantastical elements a heavy dose of realism. It’s refreshing. That realistic setting and Older’s imaginative world building made Half-Resurrection Blues a very enjoyable read.
Carlos Delacruz isn’t really alive, but he’s not quite dead either. He’s an inbetweener, someone who lives between the world of the dead and the world of the living. The only one of his kind, as far as he knows, he’s often called upon by the dead to solve problems arising between the two worlds. He frequently does work for the New York Council of the Dead along with a couple of fellow agents who really are dead. Unfortunately a string of assignments go badly and Carlos is tasked with figuring out what is really going on. Something evil is slowly creeping into the world of the living and making things miserable for everyone.
This isn’t a perfect book; there were a few things that didn’t resonate or work for me. The biggest flaw for me was the half-baked love story. She seemed like she could have been an interesting character if there had just been a bit more to her. Unfortunately she’s seen through the eyes of Carlos who predictably doesn’t see much other than her appearance. Actually, this whole book is kind of lacking in the female character department. We get glimpses of potentially awesome, evil fighting ladies, but they’re all very secondary characters. The plot wasn’t the most innovative, but kept me interested all the way through. If you like urban fantasy or mysteries, you’ll probably like it. As enjoyable as it was though, I do have to admit that I’m a lot more likely to recommend Older’s book Shadowshaper over this one.