The Daily Monocle

Critical book reviews from a literary skeptic.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Posted by J. P. Wickwire

College dropout, Sam LaCroix, flips burgers for a living at the local fast food joint. But when a wayward potato attracts the attention of a man called Douglas, Sam's life is turned completely upside down. You see, Douglas is a necromancer—a man who raises the dead for the highest bidder. And as it turns out, Sam is a necromancer too, albeit a weak one. Now he has to figure out how to harness his power and stay on Douglas' good side—or else.

In this delightfully absurd debut novel, Lish McBride weaves a tale that is at once hilarious, and chilling.

Sam's character is quirky and well-defined. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is written primarily in the present-tense, first person, and so we as readers have a visceral relationship with the main characters. Sam, in particular, is full of human unpredictability and emotion, as is Douglas. The other characters—with the possible exception of Brooke—are distinctly secondary characters, but still manage to be necessary elements of the novel.

The plot is, in a word, delightful. It does have its creepy moments; some scenes were absolutely chilling. But the mild scare factor is tempered by a healthy dose of black humor and sarcasm. And although the plot is somewhat predictable, it's still a wonderful read, and is only occasionally tempered by prose that is paced a little too quickly.

Now, I have to say that the writing was one of my favorite parts of the novel; it continually surprised me with a sort of shifting style that keeps the reader engaged. McBrid's style is very easy to read, without being patronizing. Like a lot of up-and-coming authors, McBride's prose alternates between first-person present tense, and third-person past tense. It's clear that the author is more comfortable in the first-person, but still manages to write well in both.

As a reviewer, I feel that it's my job to review the prose rather than the cover art. And yes, I abide somewhat by that age-old adage to never judge a book by it's cover. However, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer has beautiful cover art, and I feel that it warrants a mention. The red-on-black opaque, vector-style is visually striking and stands out when lined up with the other books at the bookstore. And let's face it; in a world progressively becoming more and more visually focused, cover art plays a huge part in consumer reaction.

Lish McBride has presented a wonderful debut novel that holds much potential. The author leaves the ending open in the possibility of a series. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer will delight fans of books of the mildly creepy. This is not a book for fans of hardcore horror. However, if you're looking for something fun, but dark—a great story to read by flashlight--Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is probably the perfect book for you.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer hits shelves tomorrow! Be sure to check it out at your local bookstore.

Buy it on Amazon

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