Funeral Pallor by Sean Cummings (Valerie Stevens #2)
July 1, 2010
Paperback, 320 Pages
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “What are you…like Gandalf with boobs, or something?”
Valerie Stephens, alchemist and an apprentice mage has found herself in quite a predicament…again. She works for Government Services and Infrastructure Canada and as she says, “I deal with things that go bump in the night and eat your face.” She finds herself in an abandoned warehouse with her ghost cohort, Fifty Dollar Bill. Except, at the moment, the warehouse isn’t abandoned. It is filled with about thirty zombies and Valerie is not quite sure how she is going to get rid of them all and keep it a secret to the public. But this time she gets help – Rick and Nick Newby arrive in a specially equipped snow plow – and plow right through the gruesome creatures.
Valerie is thankful for the help, but doesn’t know what to make of the metal-head banging, slightly not with it brothers. The brothers love to kill zombies, and Valerie becomes very curious how they know these creatures even exist. Turns out, their mother was turned into a zombie, before the brothers took her out. She is now a ghost, and Valerie wants to know what is really going on. How did she turn into a zombie if she was not bit? Valerie feels there is a conspiracy in the works. To add complications, her best friend Caroline (who is a zombie, but tries her best to stay on the good side) is blacking out, and no one knows if Caroline could be responsible for turning humans into Zombies. Together, they start to dig to uncover what is going on, before more zombies are made and Calgary is threatened.
Funeral Pallor is book two in Sean Cummings Valerie Stephens series. I have to say that I enjoy zombie books. I know I say the “Z” word and a lot of people start to back away slowly. But really, zombies are entertaining. Sure they are gross, but take Caroline for instance. So much can go into her character – she has to stave off wanting to eat human flesh, she has to wear a ton of cover up to even appear normal – she talks and tries to act human – but everyone knows she is not.
I find Valerie to be a very mature heroine. She doesn’t take crap from anyone, and she has a sarcastic side. Throughout the book it is mentioned she is best friends with Caroline, but I really had a hard time with their relationship. I mean, they are friendly, but it is hard to see them as really, really close. Along the same lines, I wish we got to see more of Valerie’s personal life. All we see is her working the mystery. She has a boyfriend, which we only briefly see at the end. I think when reading urban fantasy, it is important to see what makes up the heroine. We don’t see a well rounded picture of her. We really don’t know a lot about Valerie, besides her work ethic.
One fun character introduced is Tim Reaper, literally a death spirit, who created the Spanish Influenza decades ago because he was bored. As punishment, he has been stripped of his powers and placed in the mortal world. Valerie is forced to work for him and he enjoys giving her a very hard time.
“You’re late,” he said in a raspy, low-pitched voice. “Oh, and your entrance doesn’t even warrant a two on the bad ass scale.”
Funeral Pallor is a nice sequel to Shade Fright (although it can be read as a stand alone) and I look forward to more from Sean Cummings in the future.
This series includes:
Sean Cummings is giving away one copy of Funeral Pallor today! To enter, just leave a comment. Open to US/Canada only. Open through Sunday, July 18th.