One of the fun things about the Everything Box was that all of the various threads come together pretty neatly at the end, and there was snark and mayhem and thievery and adventure in between. The Wrong Dead Guy has a lot of the same stuff, but it’s missing the coherent ending. The stuff with Nelson overall never comes in to the main storyline, and neither do the Auditors. They just seem to be there for some extra scheming and possible threat to Coop and friends, but mostly Coop.
The basic premise isn’t that creative but it’s got the potential for a lot of entertaining snark and mayhem and thievery and adventure: the supernatural government agency known as the Department of Peculiar Science wants to secure a potentially dangerous mummy warrior/magician named Harkhuf that is going on display at a local museum, and the thing comes to life and wreaks havoc trying to resurrect his equally dangerous mummy girlfriend Shemetet the fearsome warrior queen so they can enslave and destroy the world together. Coop and friends must try to prevent Shemetet from being resurrected, and then stop the mummy couple when those first efforts fail. Naturally the upper echelons of the DOPS, namely Woolrich, have been manipulating things throughout, but it would appear that even he underestimated the mummies who nearly destroy DOPS. His reasons for messing with Coop are not totally cleat either, which is a little irritating.
While there aren’t any particularly important new characters introduced to Coops team which still includes Giselle and Morty, and sometimes Phil who gets a pretty good moment of heroism (I wish there more detail during that fight). I don’t remember if Sally is new or not, but her temporary alliance with Coop and pals is entertaining, and her potential connection with Bayliss who really should have had more to do beyond show up with some timely research a few times is pretty interesting. I hope if there is a third novel in the series that we get to see where that goes. Dr. Lupinky isn’t exactly new, as he was briefly introduced at the end of the Everything Box, but he gets enough development to be my new favorite (sorry Coop). He’s part mechanical octopus, part tv, part cat, and part person. He also seems like a cool if rather nerdy kind of guy. Hopefully he plays a big part in any future books.
I’m still not totally sure what happens in the end to Minerva and Keller, although I hope it was unpleasant, since they actually want to help the mummies in order to secure riches of course. I’m also not entirely clear on the elephant-library building conversion. Coop is the one who pulls off the stunt, two or three times, and even he isn’t sure exactly what’s going on. As a result, some key elements of some of the thievery is down to magical unknown, which takes away from the fun. The final party scene almost makes up for all the little problems, but not quite. All the good guys get together to explain some things, and Willy the cat makes her first appearance. Again, if there is a third novel, she’d better have at least a small mention.
Overall, this was an entertaining read, just not terribly consistent in terms of connecting evens and characters and meaning.