Zombies Sold Separately
by Cheyenne McCray
(St. Martin's, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN: 978-0-312-94643-2
***
Cheyenne McCray's Night Tracker novel, Zombies Sold Separately is a huge improvement over anything else of hers that I've read. Though I have not read any of the other Night Tracker series, I learned that it is a paranormal mystery/suspense series, and the main characters are called Trackers, who seem to be "paranorm" investigators. Kind of the supernatural beings working behind the scenes to police the things that humans are out of their league on.

In Zombies Sold Separately, our heroine is a half-human, half-Drow princess named Nyx Cian who helped investigate a previous crime involving vampires. When she's called to the scene of a paranorm mass murder, it initially appears to be of the same MO, which sends chills through her blue blood. However, it quickly becomes clear to Nyx, her business partner Olivia, and her homicide detective boyfriend Adam, that the scene and the bodies are entirely too messy to have originated with vampires.

Since Nyx and Olivia are the paranorm experts for the local police department, they launch into an investigation immediately. Questioning a few paranorm friends who had previously found other victims, they decide to canvas the local homeless population, which has gotten suspiciously larger. Not surprisingly, they don't come up with much except the testimonies of two men who say it seems that a lot of the homeless haven't been showing up in their usual places.

Okay, so not the most creative or intriguing mystery plot ever.

Soon, Nyx finds herself partnered with Colin, a Dragon, to whom Nyx would find herself attracted if not reeling from Adam recently dumping her. Colin comes from the Otherworld also, and the two have a great deal more background in common than she ever had with Adam.

Taking confused and confusing direction from Seers and Magi, getting into trouble with her boss, and finding an artist Sorceror as an informant, Nyx and Colin manage to bungle their way through the case. Zombies turn out to be much more than just a paranormal phenomenon; they're actually the machination of a quasi-evil Sorceror who is trying, in a bizarre sci-fi movie move, to bring his people to earth by transplanting their souls. This comes as no big surprise to the reader, since Amory is introduced at the beginning of Zombies Sold Separately and his conniving ways are immediately evident. And when Nyx's best friend is targeted to be a Host to one of these souls, Nyx and her Sorceror friend come up with a plan to save her that could cost Nyx her own soul.

McCray has made much headway in her writing style and taking on a stronger suspense aspect has really helped the readability of this novel. Though there is still too much inane detail, at least Zombies Sold Separately lacks her often lame and overdone sex scenes. People who were not fond of previous novels probably don't want to test the waters just yet, but fans of Cheyenne McCray or just the Night Tracker series will be very pleased.

--Sarrah Knight


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