by Gloria M (San Jose): Richard Kadrey is one of my many favorite science fiction/fantasy authors, so when he teamed up with horror writer Cassandra Khaw I just had to check out “The Dead Take The A Train.”

I am happy to share that I was not disappointed! Though, full disclosure, I had to take frequent breaks to process the vivid violence (though rest assured it was necessary for the plot).

Our protagonist Julie is turning 30 in the bustling burg of N.Y.C. Life is not going as she planned other than her sketchy retirement plan-dying young of alcohol induced liver disease-by all indications that is going very well. Julie also resorts to cocaine for stress relief from her dark magic gigs, horrendous demon encounters, and various gods who take callousness to the next level.

Julie wants to escape her day to day dilemmas and save her friend Sarah who is on the run from her abusive partner Dan, but her actions set in motion an unprecedented disaster that threatens humanity. Her go to allies, St. Joan and Dead Air have powers of their own and together they try to thwart the evil Tyler (Julie’s ex-boyfriend who is lacking anything resembling a soul), the scary sisters Barghests, and the ravenous creature Akrasiel (Julie thought she was summoning an angel) who destroys everything and everyone after he escapes the void.

It is an exciting tale, fast paced and it is impossible not to root for and care about team Julie. There is a lot of gruesome violence and sometimes the reader may just have to pause for a moment to continue. The action is non-stop with plenty of perilous cliffhangers! Impressive and imaginative, check it out!! And happily, it is the first of a series!!