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Review: Dead Waters

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Dead Waters
Author: Anton Strout 
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Ace
Simon Canderous Series Book 4
ISBN: #978-0441020119
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), ebook

I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review.
From the author’s website:
With Manhattan’s Department of Extraordinary Affairs in disarray (forget vampires and zombies- it’s the budget cuts that can kill you), Simon Canderous is still expected to stamp out any crime that adds the “para” to “normal.”  And his newest case is no exception…
A university professor has been found murdered in his apartment.  His lungs show signs of death by drowning.  But his skin and clothes? Bone dry. Now Simon has to rely on his own powers- plus a little help from his ghost-whispering partner and technomancer girlfriend- to solve a mystery that has the NYPD stumped and the D.E.A. shaken and stirred.
What B is talking about:
Simon Canderous has it rough. He’s a psychometrist (someone who can “read” the history of an object by touching it) with the Department of Extraordinary Affairs – Other Division, and he’s trying to solve a murder, all while dealing with bureaucrats and budget cuts. Never mind the resurrected victim, a vengeful Naiad, and his girlfriend’s need for extra drawer space. It’ll take everything Simon and his colleagues can do to save themselves…and New York City while they’re at it! 
I wasn’t sure what to think about Dead Waters at first. I felt a little disoriented trying to follow all the scene changes in the beginning, which shouldn’t be surprising when starting an established series with a book other than the first one. The previous books in the series, Dead to Me, Deader Still, and Dead Matter, would definitely have been a more solid beginning. 
Aside from the learning curve, I really enjoyed this book. I laughed out loud at Strout’s comic skewering of governmental procedure, oblivious restructuring, and fiscal mishandling. Despite these challenges, the D.E.A. (loved the acronym) functions as a secondary character. In fact, Simon and his fellow employees are more like a moderately dysfunctional family than a team. 
Simon isn’t cuddly. He’s immature, vain, and obstinate, but he’s got a lot to contend with to be a young member of the Other Division, especially when his psychometry leaves him with some serious emotional baggage to carry around. Simon is also caring, determined, and heroic, though, and Strout makes it all work somehow. 
I very much want to try this series from the beginning. Having read the excerpt of the first Simon Canderous novel offered on Strout’s site (link HERE), which cracked me up at one point, I think the series as a whole has a lot to offer. On its own, Dead Waters left me feeling a little incomplete, but it’s a really fun read and has enough personality that I definitely want to read more. 
B’s Rating: 
Liked it a lot – recommend (B+)


  • Great review Jen. I couldn’t finish this book. I may give it another try later.

  • Awesome review 🙂 Haven’t heard of this book until now, but looks very interesting. Good stuff.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  • Fantastic review! Its fun to see that even after checking out a book in the series that wasn’t the first one that you enjoyed it. I can understand being a little confused with it but I love the cover and loved the review so it’s going on my to check out list from the beginning of the series on. I also like that it will be a book based on a male hero instead of a female. Don’t get me wrong I like my books with my main character being a female but I really haven’t read a book that had the main character as a guy.

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