Title: The Dead (Thaumaturge #1)
Author: Cal Matthews
Release Date: August 5, 2015
Page Count: 228
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
“She’s dead,” I said to him harshly, and he made a tiny, breathless noise. The old man put his hand on the boy’s shoulder, and the girl gave another sob, her face crumpling like a tissue.
“But I can fix it,” I said, and smiled.
Ebron White has plenty of skeletons in his closet. Being gay in a remote ranching town is no picnic, but that’s nothing compared to Ebron’s biggest secret: he has the power to raise the dead. His life is complicated but so far he’s managing. He’s got a respectable business, an undead (though unreliable) boyfriend and most folks in his little rural community are willing to live and let live.
But a coven of witches showing up in town can only mean trouble. They’re entirely too interested in him and as the bodies pile up, Ebron is starting to realize that the dead are the least of his worries. It’s the live ones he has to survive.
I enjoyed the hell outta this ride and read it in one sitting.
BUT….this book also frustrated the hell outta me.
Ebron is in his late twenties and lives in Nowhere, Montana. He can also raise the dead, an ability he learned about by chance. It’s not something he does often, after all – how many dead bodies can one come across in Bumfuck, Montana?
He also has Leo in his life. Leo is a vampire who’s been his best friend and lover for ten years. Only problem? Leo always leaves, with no notice, and comes back weeks/months later.
So I get the doormat behavior here. Ebron has zero other gays in his town. He’s in love with Leo. What other opportunities will he have if he doesn’t drive to another town? I know. I know. He will be so lonely and isn’t this better than no romantic interaction at all?
I set aside my judgy thoughts for him a little under these circumstances. But come on? He knows nothing about Leo. No history, family ties, what Leo does when he’s away. He does know that Leo isn’t faithful to him in the times between.
Ok, judgy is back. Stop being a doormat!
The majority of the story is taken by a group of witches who show up to Ebron’s little town and havoc begins. And that part was entertaining, honestly.
Being in Ebron’s head was also refreshing. Other than the above doormat behavior, his thoughts were organic, and his character was written well.
But the romance? Ugh. There is no true redemption here. I don’t like Leo anymore by the end of the book than I did in the beginning. He’s still dragging Ebron along. Monogamy was mentioned, but nothing was decided. Ebron still doesn’t know anything about him. I’m feeling let down.
I’m ok with mystery, suspense, or other things to take up a lot of page time if the romance pays off in the end.