Madhouse by Rob Thurman

Cal Leandros, #3


Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, aren't exactly prospering with their preternatural detective agency. Who could have guessed that business could dry up in New York City, where vampires, trolls, and other creepy crawlies are all over the place? But now there's a new arrival in the Big Apple. A malevolent evil with ancient powers is picking off humans like sheep, dead-set on making history with an orgy of blood and murder. And for Cal and Niko, this is one paycheck they're going to have to earn.

“Told me that when you bury emotions like that, you're only pissing them off ... making them stronger, because you're burying them alive. They don't like that, and one day they'll make sure that you don't like it either.”

Holy cliffhanger hell, that was a doozy.

Other than the last few paragraphs that came out of nowhere and knocked me on the side of the head, the book was rather sedate. Sure, there's a cool plot about a restored and ancient serial killer that's tough to beat, but just like the others in this series so far - nothing feels frantic or particularly suspenseful about it.

I think the main issue is that most Urban Fantasies dip their genre toe deeply into the mystery pool, stimulating the thinking part of the brain as much as the action part. With this series, there's little mystery - most of what is unknown is discovered almost right away, leaving little pause and wonder (no surprise) - so it's basically connect the dots from one action point to the next.

Cal isn't as emo as before, but he's still realistically conflicted, which is fine. He's a unique character and I like his sassy attitude, gritty outlook, normal hormones, and sense of loyalty. Niko still hasn't grown on me as he's too perfect and paper pure, but he's okay as a background and their brotherly bond is still fitting. Promise is still kind of lackluster, but Robin is - as always - a fun character bomb that was tossed into the group.

The villains were brutally vicious and hard to conquer, but I knew they were be bested in the end so there's just wasn't enough tension to raise the rating. You could have put in any other antiquated serial killer and had a similar feel of rush and story. It was creative to use who the author did (I won't spoil it), but I think the issue is what I explained about -the way the world goes about sending out these signals. It's a little redundant.

I'll still continue with the series - the author writes well, dialogue rings true, the world-building is filled with bizarre fantastical creatures and powers. And of course after that cliffhanger - I have to see that the demented starter race may have come back to finish the job. 

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