Procession of the Dead, by Darren Shan
Grand Central Publishing – June 4, 2010 (US) – Hardcover – 288 pages
Source: Review Copy
Capac Raimi arrives in the City to learn the art of being a gangster from his Uncle Theo. Raimi’s head is filled with the exploits of The Cardinal, the City’s infamous and feared leader, and he can’t wait to emulate him by learning all he can, becoming a player in the game. Raimi’s dreams are soon realized when he gets to meet The Cardinal and quickly becomes one of his fastest rising proteges. All is well, and Raimi is content, until people around him begin to disappear without a trace. Though no one else seems to notice, and as much as he thinks he should leave it alone, Raimi can’t help but to try to get to the bottom of what is going on.
Back in May I popped into the Hachette Book Group offices for a visit. While there, Amy and I met and chatted with the Jamie Levine, the Executive Editor at Grand Central Publishing. As you can imagine she is a big reader, and was very interested in the books that we enjoyed, and of course when asked point blank, I could barely think of anything to mention (don’t you just hate when hate when that happens?). One thing that came to mind was how I enjoyed reading Cemetery Dance, one of the Douglas Preston & Lee Child books. I had just jumped right into the series, and Jaime recommended The Cabinet of Curiosities as a way to start to get to the heart of the series, and also said I should try this book, Procession of the Dead. I am really grateful for her recommendation of this one. I was so into this book.
The name Darren Shan has just come to my attention lately with the upcoming publication of The Birth of A Killer (The Saga of Larten Crepsley), and when I picked up this novel I was surprised to find to find that it was by the same author. The beautiful thing about getting a recommendation like I did, was that I new next to nothing about the story or the author before starting to read; it’s always a nice feeling for me to not have any idea, besides my own cues from the story about what is going on.
I was so pleased by how much I enjoyed this read. I literally finished and then took several hours to think about it because the characters are uniquely compelling and the story offered intriguing possibilities to explore about the nature of identity, memory and the crucial roles they play in shaping our life experiences. I loved the subtle world building that Shan employed and I could easily believe that a man such as The Cardinal could come to power in this familiar yet dystopian world. There was never a dull moment for me in this innovative and suspenseful thriller.