Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review : Nekropolis (Matt Richter) by Tim Waggoner

Matt Richter #1 | August 6, 2009 | Angry Robot Books


Meet Matt Richter. Private Eye. Zombie. His mean streets are the city of the dead, the shadowy realm known as Nekropolis. 

This place has always been ruled by the vampire overlords. 
Now they're plotting to destroy the city.
... over his dead body.


Step through a portal and enter a dimension known as Nekropolis, home to all things strange and unusual. It's a world covered in perpetual dusk, divided into dominions that are overseen by five Darklords, chosen by the creator of Nekropolis.

Zombie detective, Matthew Richter, entered Nekropolis' dark dimension as a human officer chasing a suspect. Two years later he's become a permanent resident and spends the remainder of his now undead existence doing favors for others. 

Matt requires preservative spells to keep his dead body from decaying and emitting foul odors. He also walks with his own version of a stiff-legged zombie gait. Occasionally he even loses body parts during physical altercations. 

But despite his zombie status, he's not drooling and moaning for Braaaaaiiiiins! And despite his flaws, he is a very likable character that is easy to relate to. 

You may wonder how a zombie can stand up against lykes, demons, and seven-foot-tall silverfish. He doesn't possess quick reflexes, he has no sense of touch or smell, and isn't capable of quickly healing himself when damaged. 

What Richter does have is a clever mind, a lack of fear, and a deep set of pockets that contain an endless supply of tricks and spells. He also has a large network of friends who feel a certain loyalty to him because of his help in the past. Needless to say, it comes in very handy.

He meets Devona, the half-blood daughter of Lord Galm. She requires his assistance in discovering who has stolen a valuable artifact from her father's collection. Being the keeper of his collection, Devona must quickly recover the missing item before it is put to use and Lord Galm discovers her mistake.

During their journey, we are introduced to the numerous bizarre characters and establishments within Nekropolis.

There is Glassine, the Transparent Woman, who created an invisibility spell that was only partially effective. Her skin is transparent, leaving everything visible underneath. Then there is Patchwork, a six-foot-tall living voodoo doll. And the reality-challenged Fade, who needs constant interaction and acknowledgement from others in order to preserve her existence. There were many, many more characters to enjoy including Honani/Lyra, Lazlo, Arvel from Krimson's Kiss, and the list goes on and on.

Out of the large number of oddities that Waggoner has created, my favorite was the Agony Delite. 

".. a car made out of a dozen masochistic humans - their hands and feet providing the motive force instead of wheels. Such vehicles are powered by their components' suffering. They moan at idle, yell when moving, and scream when the vehicle is traveling at high speed." 

I do have to warn you though, this book is full of typos. It's as if there was no editing done at all. It was only mildly distracting to me, but that's probably because I was given no choice but to try and ignore them or else give up reading all together. 

There is also somewhat of an attempt at a romance toward the end of this novel that falls flat, in my opinion. There is a minimum amount of character development with Devona, the love interest. She's really nothing more than a tag-along and when the two start to develop feelings for each other, it doesn't really seem to fit. Honestly, I was a little disappointed to see that she is included in the next story.

Overall, I really enjoyed Matt Richter and his crazy world. I'm glad I took a chance and picked this up. Now I'm off to order the sequel.

"But the humans outgrew us, came to hate us and desire our destruction. Perhaps because we reminded them of the darkest parts of themselves."

"Maybe," I said. "But eating them might've had something to do with it too."


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