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Dead to Me Mass Market Paperback – 26 Feb 2008

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books (26 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441015786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441015788
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 2.6 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 813,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By clairefromwales VINE VOICE on 29 Mar 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Dead to Me is set in New York - but New York with a twist, there are ghosts, creatures and people with magical powers of various sorts. Their activities are policed by the Department of Extraordinary Affairs.

The hero of the book, Simon Canderous, works for the Department as part of the Other Division, which picks up all sorts of cases that don't fall to Divisions more specific roles like Haunts General or Greater and Lesser Arcana. Simon's special skill is psychometry, which allows him to see into the past of an object by touching it - useful in work, but a bit of a nightmare for his personal life.

Simon is firmly on the side of the angels but does have a rather shady past, which adds an interesting dimension to his character. The book is written from his first person perspective and he has an amusing and interesting voice.

The book follows Simon on his first really big case, which starts when he finds a ghost in the coffee shop that acts as a front for the Department. It becomes clear that something serious is up in New York, with Cultists with a taste for human sacrifice and a very nasty drug empire moving into the acceptable mainstream. Simon has to find out who his lovely ghost Irene was before her death and why she's so real.

Simon is a good lead character and I enjoyed following his journey. The other characters in the book are interesting, but at the end I felt that I didn't really know any of them very well or what their real motivations were. Even Connor, Simon's mentor, has moments were he gets pretty irritable with his charge and you're not quite sure where he's coming from.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. Mason on 24 July 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I brought this book on a wim and thought I would try something different and it is fab I cant put it down and read it really quicky. It reminds me of cross between dresden files like somebody else has stated cross with a little men in black and Buffy. A fab read funny in parts and I love the way the author has written the book as Simon the main caracter says I saw this or I feel you can really see though his eyes....

I would recommend this book to anybody I even recommened it to my mum yesterday.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 2 Feb 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first half of this book is awesome: funny, quirky, interesting. But the second half... It feels like it's written by someone else. The author suddenly uses phrases like "I threw up in my mouth a little" or "we exchanged a WTF look." I mean, huh. I really liked Simon, Connor, the Inspectre and Irene, even Wesker was funny with his acerbic sense of humor. But Jane... If there's a poster girl for a stereotypical blondie, it's her: gorgeous and cute but with empty space where her brain should be. It literally echoes in her head. And once she's introduced, the book goes downhill from there, turning the story from funny to silly to absurd. Too bad, the book had a great potential...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Theophania Elliott on 19 Oct 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
It took me two attempts to get into this book; the first time I started reading it I just couldn't work up the necessary interest in it to continue. However, at the second attempt, for some reason, I had no trouble and read it right through to the end in one sitting. I ended up glad I had persevered with it.

This is light urban fantasy; we don't get terribly deep character development, or great complexity, and the Department of Extraordinary Affairs (DEA) where the protagonist (Simon Canderous) works is played for laughs. It's a caricature of the red-tape-bound government agency; the humour coming from the juxtaposition of the almost uber-normal and the weird. Simon has to contend with lots of form-filling in triplicate and the kind of training-courses that we all have to suffer through, but he's also expected to put his life on the line fighting against homicidal ghosts and human-sacrificing cultists.

Simon's a guy who has a paranormal ability that has been useful in a life of petty crime and disastrous to his love-life, and now he's decided to go straight, he's relieved to find a job where it's actually an asset and he might learn to control it. In this book, he's still very much a newbie, and one who's been rather chucked in the deep end at that. Unlike many urban fantasy protagonists, he's not amazingly powerful - his ability is to read the history of objects when he touches them; excellent for giving you an unwanted look at whoever your girlfriend was with last, but not great in the self-defence stakes. His position is that he's very much a low-level operative having to deal with stuff he's neither trained nor equipped for.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 56 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A fine first novel 9 Mar 2008
By K. Cook - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The premise of this book is certainly intriguing. How can you have a meaningful relationship if anytime you touch a person there is the potential to see something intimate about their past. Poor Simon has gone from petty criminal to newbie investigator, but that still hasn't helped his love life. And during this novel, it only seems to get more complicated.

I enjoyed this book and finished it pretty quickly. The characters are memorable and entertaining.

A couple of things prevent a five star review for me, one of which is that the book seemed to lack a certain cohesion. The events just seemed strung together rather than leading up to any particular confrontation. Also, the big bad didn't seem developed enough to me. We get righteous indignation from the hero about his deeds, but until the end it's much more tell than show and to me mostly came off as prejudice on the hero's part rather than actual villainy.

As a side note that is probably a character choice, but still bothered me, was the fact that the main character comes off as ridiculously self righteous at times. On the plus side, he realizes it and he's young so maybe he'll grow out of it.

Still, good for a first novel.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
A fun popcorn urban fantasy read 25 April 2008
By Steven Saus - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The concept of a Bureau 13 or other government "secret agency" that combats occult happenings isn't new. Having it be an underfunded NYC agency instead of a federal BPRD or high-tech MiB-style operation is (at least to me).

There's the smartass rookie protagonist - a hotheaded psychometrist - and his older wisecracking but slightly-stick-in-the-mud mentor. There's the "is he good or bad" dotted-line superior, and the slightly goofy direct superior who's a little tougher than he appears. And there's the spirits, spooks, zombies, and cultists, along with the bigger-than-it-appears evil scheme. All the elements of a fun time.

And it is, mostly after chapter five.

This book very definitely gets better the further you get into the plot. Mr. Strout seems to try for a Whedonesque flair (deliberately invoking _Angel_ at one point), and doesn't quite hit it. Simon Canderous (said rookie protagonist) isn't a flat character - but elements of his personality pop up unexpectedly. This may explain the first four chapters, which try to go into Simon's motivations and set the stage for his motivations. They do - but a bit mechanically. I don't really *care* much about Simon at first. It comes into play later, and by *that* point I care... but I felt really disconnected at first.

But let me emphasize that by the end, I do care about Simon, Connor, and the rest of the crew at the DEA. This book entertained me, and I am looking forward to Mr. Strout's second book about Simon.

Let's put it this way: This book kept me amused and sane as I took breaks from reading primary sociological texts. If that's not a recommendation for a popcorn-feel-good time, I don't know what is.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Urban Fantasy Debut 26 Feb 2008
By SciFiChick - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Simon Canderous has the gift of psychometry - when he touches an object he can view its history. But this isn't necessarily a gift when it comes to information he doesn't want to know, especially when it comes to the women he dates. Recently recruited to the DEA (District of Extraordinary Affairs), Simon uses his gift to help others. His latest case involves a woman who doesn't know she's dead. As Simon begins to uncover the reasons behind her death, he soon finds himself in escalating, dangerous situations.

Dead To Me has all the fun and mystery of the Dresden Files with great secondary characters as well. Paranormal creatures and danger, infused with comedic relief, made this debut stand out from among the rest. Simon is a wonderful character that I look forward to seeing more of and how he develops. The women in his life are just as complex, and only add to Simon's difficult life. From bookstacks that attack to cultists who are into inhaling ghosts for a high, this exciting urban fantasy has tremendous potential. With plenty of suspense and humor, I highly recommend this debut to any fantasy fan.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Underdeveloped. 12 April 2008
By Darkle- - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wanted to like this book, it is just the sort of thing that I really enjoy. But, the characters felt unsympathetic or boring, and just didn't appeal to me.
Simon, the main character, acts like teenager- hormones over brains. He charges into every situation without any though. And he was supposed to be an experience thief, having spent years involved in the underworld. I particularly hated the situation where he was told he and his girlfriend were being marked for death. He carefully hid her at a hotel, doubled back, and made sure no one trailed him to her. And then went back about his business without a worry. He went home, stood in his window, then went to work, etc. Brainless.
The "Perky" Cultist could have been great (like Gilley from Dork Towers), but she really was just annoying.
Really, it felt like the author had a lot of `ideas', but didn't spend enough time working out the implications or making the characters `real' enough (at least for me).
This looked like the beginning of a series. I hope that the next one is better. But, for me, I think I will pass.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A great debut -- wickedly weird and fun -- highly recommended 28 April 2008
By Carolyn Turgeon - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book. It's completely quirky and funny and suspenseful... I mean, how could you not love a debonair divination-having, ghost-seducing, cultist-abusing detective? It's like Law and Order, but with hot ghosts and rampaging bookcases. I glanced over some of the other reviews... One calls this book a rip off of Men in Black, which is crazy. I found Dead to Me totally fresh and inspired. I can't wait for the sequel!
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