Saturday, December 05, 2015

Review: Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older

Half-Resurrection Blues:  Bone Street Rumba, Book 1 by Daniel Jose Older


I just finished listening to the audio version of this book -- it's read by the author -- and I really, really, really have to recommend the audio version.  I'll get to why in a minute.

Yet another Urban Fantasy, this time with ghosts of all flavors, a whole Ghost Organization,  Our hero is not white (gasp) and not middle class (gasp gasp) and his Latino rhythms and view of the world are so much fresh spicy air.  We're dealing with a "halfie" here -- someone who has died but is still alive, and still human, just...changed a bit.  Not a ghoul or a vampire or a zombie.  A Halfie. An In-betweener.  His name is Carlos.  He might be Puerto Rican.  He's not sure because he can't remember his life before he was killed.

His best friends are ghosts, and he works for the New York Council of the Dead.  Yes, there is bureaucracy even in death.  His job?  He handles the unruly spirits, sending them to the final death for messing around and causing trouble.  There aren't many like him.  The story has a nice twist to it -- oh yes, he has to save the world and all, but that's really not his goal.  It's not his complete goal, pretty much.  So he's running down clues and getting in trouble and yes, he meets a beautiful woman and the music plays.

But those are just the facts of the story.  What really rings true to me -- and why I recommend the audio version so highly -- is that this story is just pure street poetry.  Older uses words like Carlos Santana uses musical notes.  This shit sings.  It dances.  There were parts where he was reading it and I forgot there was a story going on because I was just falling into the cadence of his words.  They writhed and rumbaed and tangoed and every sexy, tropical, fruit flavored, flower scented, spice fired thing words can do.  I'm a staid white middle class old woman, and it infected me.  Right now, my thoughts are bouncing in that same rhythm Older used to voice Carlos.  It was far more beautiful than is the usual in books like this.  I'm glad of that, too, because a story is a story and a great voice is a great voice, even if it's singing pop tunes in the shower.

So, yeah. Damn!

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