07 June 2014

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?
My expectation: something totally goofy.  Sherman Alexie's blurb -- "This is a scary funny book or a funny scary book.  In either case, it is a great book.  I love it." -- was a fair warning, even if I didn't quite believe it.  Hold Me Closer, Necromancer was a funny book.  It was also a freaky as hell book, and teaches me to mind my manners when reading a book with Lish McBride at the helm.  Just as good as Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake in the creepy department, though Anna pales just a bit in comparison, let's be honest.  I enjoyed everything from the characters to the way it switched effortlessly between light superficiality to hard, cold badassery. 

I loved Sam's character, but in a way that makes me think I wouldn't have the guts to approach him in real life because, while he may consider himself socially awkward, he's actually wickedly funny (and to a 20-year-old with the sense of humor as non existent as an unattractive Tom Hiddleston, funny guys are endlessly attractive).  Sam was open and vulnerable, exposing his weaknesses but also his steel core.  He could shriek like a girl at the sight of a severed head, but he could also take care of business like a BAMF.  Sam is just the kind of narrator I'm drawn to: one who struggles with power.  He held this book together excellently.

In fact, all of the characters brought this story to life in the way that well-cast Broadway productions seem to just work, even if you can't say exactly why.  Lish McBride has me convinced that she has the ability to write good characters, which says to me that no matter what genre she chooses to write in, she will produce a work of enjoyable quality.

Really, when I say "enjoyable" I mean "holy crap I'm freaked out but I kinda like it."  When I first cracked open Hold Me Closer, Necromancer I assumed that the "freaky" stuff was going to be hokey at best and schticky at worst, and I was not expecting to be left rolling my shoulders with unease and enduring a shudder that rippled all the way down my spine.  Lish McBride has this ability to present something creepy in an off-handed way, sort of lulling you into a false sense of security until she snaps the comedy off with a healthy dose of skin-crawling reality.

Really, it's like a superpower.  It's almost enough to keep me away from her work.  Almost.  I am super psyched to get a copy of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer for my shelves and to pick up the sequel, Necromancing the Stone, because the thing I loved above all else in this book was that no matter how much something appeared superficial and fluffy, there was a hard truth that came at you like a prize fighter.  Lish McBride's way of kidding-not-kidding has me excited and apprehensive about her work all at once, but definitely willing to continue reading her books.

There were no windows in my bedroom, so I had to sit up and read my clock to figure out how angry I should be at my visitor. Eight A.M. I hated whoever woke me up. Had they come an hour earlier, I would have also hated their families and any household pets.
“On top of all that, you're naked. And while I'm going to hate myself for this later, could you put on some clothes? At least just for a little while, so I can think. Then you can go right back to being naked. All the time. With my full blessing.”

Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 343
  • published - October 2010
  • publisher - Henry Holt and Co
  • genre - urban fantasy
  • received via - library :)
  • rating - 5/5
  • series - Necromancer
    • Heads Will Roll (novella)
    • Necromancer (novella)
    • Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
    • Necromancing the Stone