Monday, September 8, 2014

Working Stiff

Bryn Davis was honorably discharged from the military after 4 years in Iraq and now seeks employment with  funeral home. It may not be glamorous, but the work is steady and she's good it. Then she discovers her boss might be a drug dealer after hours. Turns out that he is reviving people from the dead with a drug called Returne and then charging those people exorbitant fees to continue the treatment that keeps them alive. Bryn tries to escape, but her boss kills her. She's then revived by Pharmadene, the pharmaceutical company that created the drug, to find out where the leak in their company is. Unfortunately, if she doesn't complete her task, they see no value in keeping her alive. Can Bryn figure it out in time? Will they even keep her alive if she completes the task?

I found this book in a used bookstore and thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did because Bryn is an amazing character. She faces impossible situations and works through them. She's strong, yet human and still feels emotion. I can't help put root for her even though her situation is pretty bleak. I did wish her military training would have been utilized more because she was quite passive at times when I was infuriated and wanted to punch other characters in the face. The zombies are pretty much like people on borrowed time. If they are not administered Returne, they will slowly and painfully decompose while alive over the course of about 5 days. They are very resilient and can withstand a lot of damage, especially if more Returne is administered.

I had a few problems with the book. There were so many squicky issues and villains that it was a pretty bleak read. Here are our villains: the funeral director who extorts grieving families, the gross mortician who sexually harasses and tortures women, and Pharmadene the company who puts their own profits over lives. The good guys are few and far between. I don't mind depressing books, but this is marketed as an urban fantasy romance that doesn't really deliver on that. The romance is lacking as well. The situation is so bleak with all these bad guys and the lead character, despite being pretty awesome, has next to no autonomy. I literally would not have been surprised if she decided to kill herself.

Working Stiff is well written, but had a lot of problems. I might try to continue the series, but I hope it gets less super depressing.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

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