The first book in a new fantasy series set in modern US. I enjoyed Caine’s Weather Warden series and so I was eager to try her new series even though I’m not a zombie fan.

Publication year: 2011
Format: Audio
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Running Time: 11 hrs and 59 minutes

Bryn Davies is a former soldier and now she’s a mortician. She’s just been hired as a funeral director to Fairview Mortuary, which has a reputation for going through funeral directors quickly. Bryn soon finds out why. Even though her immediate boss, Mr. Fairview, is nice enough, Bryn realizes that he sells drugs. And not just ordinary ones, but the one drug which will restore life to a corpse. Soon after, the villainous Fairview kills her.

However, Bryn is revived with a shot of the drug, Returne. The two men who brought her back work for Pharmadene, the company which developed the drug and they want it back. They decide to use Bryn as a way to track down the black market seller. Because Bryn now need a shot of the drug every day, she has no choice but to agree.

Bryn is very different from Joanne, who is the lead in the Weather Warden series. Bryn is a serious woman and she’s also quiet and contemplative, unlike Joanne. Unfortunately, this makes her somewhat flat and the other characters aren’t remarkable, either. Her situation is also so grim that there’s not a lot of humor in book.

The leader of Pharmadene is a ruthless woman and she makes clear that as soon as Bryn isn’t useful to her, Bryn won’t get the drug anymore. Returne is based on nanotechnology. In addition to restoring a corpse to what it was during live (needing to eat, breath, having same emotions etc.) it also sets up a code word in Bryn’s system (and the systems of everyone else who has been injected with the drug) and when that word is said, Bryn has to obey.

The book has a very dark tone; Bryn is dead and nothing is going to make her alive again. She can’t have a normal life. Even her romantic interest McCallister is cold and aloof. I wasn’t interested in him at all and couldn’t see what Bryn sees in him, except that he’s the only eligible man around. I would have liked the book more without the mandatory romance.

The book doesn’t end in a cliffhanger but it does leave the future open for further adventures. At any case, Bryn has to have Returne or she will literally decompose.

It wasn’t bad but I don’t think I’ll continue with this series.

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