Dead Wrong is the fourth book in the Thorns and Fangs series so this review may contain spoilers for earlier books.
As is the pattern with Gillian St. Kevern’s Thorns and Fangs series, Dead Wrong begins one month after the events of Life After Humanity. Ben’s name is on the Final Register, meaning that his existence has been wiped from the history of New Camden and he has been forgotten by those who knew him, including Nate. Nate is convinced there is something he is missing from his life, but the knowledge of what it is lies just out of his reach.
Nate is still planning on leaving Century, but his celebration of thirty-one days free of any supernatural event are about to come to an abrupt end when Detective Gunn knocks on his door. Gunn takes Nate to Old Cemetry where a dead body has been found. The victim has markings on his chest that remind Nate of those left by the necromancer who terrorized New Camden and who was the catalyst for Nate discovering his supernatural powers. Shortly after this, Gunn hires Nate to assist Department Seven with their investigations, but Nate is immediately thrown into the chaos when the Registry is broken into, only for him to return home to discover the Final Register on his bed, containing one name: Bennett Hawick. The Revenant-type creature that Nate then finds only slightly resembles Ben; his humanity all but gone and his vampire completely in control. Can Nate help save the man he fell in love with while also helping Department Seven save New Camden from a war between supernaturals and dark magic?
Dead Wrong is the fourth and sadly, final, book in St. Kevern’s Thorns and Fangs series. If you are new to my reviews, I will remind you that it is essential that this series be read in order as characters are established and events are preordained by things that have happened in previous books.
The end of Life After Humanity left us wondering ‘what now?’ and St. Kevern does not immediately answer this question when Dead Wrong begins. Instead, the reader is distracted by the supernatural drama which, in truth, has always driven the Thorns and Fangs series. This does not mean that St. Kevern is dismissive of Ben and Nate’s relationship in Dead Wrong. It is still an important component of the story and readers will not be disappointed by the sizzling connection that still exists between Nate and Ben, but I like the way in which this develops again in line with the story. In my opinion, the beginning of Dead Wrong almost brings the series full circle and it is the ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ that kept me turning the pages.
I think the aspect that touched me the most in Dead Wrong was that despite this being a paranormal story, St. Kevern still reminds us of the fragility of human life. In New Camden, where vampires, werewolves , demons, and magic exist, cancer is still an illness that kills. Though, ironically, we should wish a painful ending on this characters for their actions, I found myself feeling empathy and pity because their suffering was caused by such an emotive disease.
However, as much as I wanted to love the final instalment of the Thorns and Fangs series, Dead Wrong failed to fully meet my expectations. This novel felt more rushed than the three previous ones and though there were surprises within the plot, I felt I knew what to expect because there were so many echoes of Thorns and Fangs, Uprooted, and Life After Humanity. This included Saltaire’s loss of power over Ben, Ben and Nate trapped in an impossible situation, and the existence of a necromancer threatening New Camden’s inhabitants.
I also felt that in Dead Wrong St. Kevern missed several inconsistencies or did not explain them fully. Though this, in part, is understandable in a novel where the plot is so intricate, I also found myself questioning parts of the story and having to go back pages and re-read. This was particularly true when Ben is back with Saltaire, fully in vampire mode. Ben claims not to remember anything or anybody, though in the next chapter he is talking to Nate on the phone. Though I realize that time must pass and authors cannot address every small detail, I thought that when Ben remembered Nate it would have been more of an emotional experience, for him and the reader, rather than the moment happening at a convenient time.
Dead Wrong has death, tension, sex, romance, and the all important paranormal elements, just like the rest of the Thorns and Fangs series. Though Dead Wrong does not match up to the excellence of Thorns and Fangs and Uprooted, it is still a good finish to Ben and Nate’s journey and I would recommend it to anyone who has read the previous books.