deader than dead coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Bellamy may be a professional thief, but he does have some degree of a moral code. So when he realizes the seemingly innocuous item he was hired to steal is in fact far more dangerous than he was led to believe, he figures he will just fail to deliver it. But the folks who hired him are not willing to take no for an answer and Bellamy quickly finds himself in over his head.

John Averill is a necromancer with the Paranormal Problems Bureau. He gets hired to raise the dead, but he can only bring them back temporarily, usually for just a few hours. When John’s boss assigns him a new case, John quickly realizes that something is off with the job and the clients are seriously dangerous. But nothing prepares John to see the body they want him to reanimate… and realize it is his true mate, the one man who the fates have decided is meant for him. And he is dead before John ever had a chance to meet him.

Despite John’s best efforts, he can’t find a way to bring back his dead mate, even for just a short time. It is devastating for John and he feels such pain at the missed opportunity. But all hope is not lost, and there is more in store for John and Bellamy than either man could have ever dreamed. The connection they have is so powerful and both men have fallen hard and fast. However, the gang that killed Bellamy still wants the artifact that they hired him to steal, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on it, no matter the cost.

Deader Than Dead is a cute and entertaining fated mates story that kicks off H.L. Day’s Paranormal Problems: Necromancers series. The story was originally published in the Fated Mates charity anthology and has now been expanded with 28k words of additional content. The book also now has dual POVs, adding in Bellamy’s narration, and there are some small story changes. I didn’t read the original story, but having read Bellamy’s chapters, I think the addition is helpful. Although he recaps for John the theft of the artifact and what lead up to his death, seeing it first hand through his eyes as it happens rounds out the story nicely.

This story grabbed my attention right away from the clever premise — what happens if you meet your fated mate after they are already dead? And then there is added twist that John is a necromancer, but even if he succeeds in bringing Bellamy back to life, the most he can hope for is a few hours with him. It is so delicious and Day makes the most of this premise. John’s despair at realizing the situation is palpable, and then we get to see his shock and joy as he learns he can meet Bellamy after all. I am trying to be vague here as to exactly what transpires so as not to spoil how it plays out. But rest assured that the men do end up both meeting and getting an HEA.

Once the men find their way together, things move very fast on the relationship front. They are fated mates and are therefore incredibly drawn to one another and in love basically immediately. Given the interesting set up, as well as big picture threats the men face, I was fine with the relationship progressing with essentially no conflict. The real focus after John and Bellamy meet is the fact that the gang who hired Bellamy wants the artifact he stole and their lives are on the line as try to figure out how to evade the bad guys without putting a dangerous artifact in their hands. There are some suspenseful and exciting moments here that I really enjoyed, especially as John makes use of his necromancer skills. Things are left a teeny bit open ended with the bad guys, but overall it resolves well. I did feel like there was some unnecessary time spent focusing on one of John’s co-workers who doesn’t really connect to the story in any way. As it turns out, he is the MC of the next book, so I assume that is why he kept being mentioned even though he never even appears on page, but it felt like an unneeded distraction here to me.

Overall, I found this one fun with a really clever premise and some nice suspense. Day lays a nice foundation for the larger series and I am looking forward to continuing on.

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