Dead Easy (2007) is the fourth fantasy novel in the HalfLife Chronicles series, following Habeas Corpses. In the previous volume, Christopher Csejthe spent some time in an immaterial state, with a silver cord connecting his astral projection to his body. Then Wendy cut the cord and a pair of docs stole his body. He traveled out west and raised chaos among the body snatchers.
Chris recovered his body, but it had been enhanced with nanobots. He returned to New York City within his body, but then bloodwalked among the master vampires of the New York City demesne. After terrifying them out of their traditions, he gave them specific orders. Returning into his physical body, Chris departed NYC and went back to Louisiana.
In this novel, Chris finds himself in a strait jacket within a padded cell. The very blond and voluptuous Doctor Fand was trying to talk him into facing reality. She also wants him to sign a paper releasing his unborn son to foster care.
Despite the drugs, Chris begins to think coherently. He decides that the self-described psychiatrist isn't really a medical doctor. He also notices that the blonde has pointy ears, a violet glow and a nasty disposition.
Chris jams the blonde through the door and escapes his cell. Fleeing through the halls -- that turn into stone tunnels -- Chris confronts the oversized orderly and extends claws from his fingers capable of chipping the stone walls. The man says something about Chris's eyes, then turns and runs away.
In this story, Chris returns to his houseboat to find that he has been gone for three weeks. It seemed like three months, but time passes more quickly in a fairy mound. He manages to stay awake long enough to get a quick briefing on the current situation.
Two enforcers from the New Orleans demesne are on his boat preparing to take Mama Samm to the Big Easy. Marie Laveau has been minding Lupe as she carries his unborn son. Doctors Mooncloud and Barton have been tending to Lupe's needs while she is nearing the end of her pregnancy.
Chris is talking to Zotz the bat god on the rear deck of the houseboat when something pulls the demon into the water. Three fish men come up from the depths and attack him. After they fall into the river, Chris again grows claws as well as metal blades on his forearms. Cutting up the fishmen, he returns to the houseboat.
Apparently the nanobots within his body have activated beyond the basic tissue repair level. They are not only generating personal weapons, but also breathing apparatus to keep him alive under the water. Still, the energy has to come from somewhere and he starts craving even more blood.
This tale introduces Chris to the ancient and outer gods a la H.P. Lovecraft. They infest his dreams and even cause hallucinations while he is awake. Apparently the bad gods are returning to Earth and the not-so-bad gods are trying to prevent their return.
Chris is living in deep doo-doo in these final days. The world is coming to an end and his son, daughter and former wife will be born any time now. The Werewolves are revolting and the vampires are not so friendly. Enjoy!
Recommended for Simmons fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of preternatural creatures, ancient gods, and desperate love.
-Arthur W. Jordin