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WesternSFA
Wrong Side of Dead
by Kelly Meding
Bantam Books, $7.99, 358pp
Release Date: January 31, 2012

A new Kelly Meding book is the literary version of a happy place – for readers, if not for the beleaguered characters of Dreg City, where humans are in a difficult alliance with shape-changers and vampires against goblins, half-Bloods, a mad scientist, minions of the fey, and now werewolves. Evy, the narrator-protagonist, is herself an anomaly; after being killed in the first book of the series, Three Days to Dead, she was given a second chance at a life, along with a boost to her immune system which helps her survive torture and withstand the parasite infection that turns humans into crazed half-Bloods. But spike-heeled leather boots still hurt her feet.

Evy and the raptor shape-changer Phineas are one team staking out a rave where they hope to prevent an attack on humans by Halfies, who have begun to organize in a most uncharacteristic way. When Felix shows up, Evy is torn between her resolve to end the half-live of her former teammate, and an impulse to give him a chance most killed or turned people never get: to say goodbye to loved ones. Kill or capture, which will it be?

Phineas is one of the last four surviving shape-changers of the osprey clan; he and Evy are sworn to defend the remaining three, including little Ava, barely two months old. As a clan, they are essentially doomed, but that doesn’t mean Phineas will sit idly by when Walter Thakery kidnaps the others to use in his insane bioengineering experiments.

To really complicate matters, the man Evy wants to love, Wyatt, gets bit by one of the werewolves, and the vampires come down with a ravaging disease.

If you are new to the series, do not let that discourage you from picking up this book. Meding is master at backstory summary; you can pick up this book and start right in, even if you’ve missed any or all of the precursors, she’s that good at catching you up, quickly and gracefully. So enjoy the ride. ~~ Chris R. Paige

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