Book Review: Dead Boys by: Gabriel Squailia

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Publication Date: March 10, 2015

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: A decade dead, Jacob Campbell is a preservationist, providing a kind of taxidermy to keep his clients looking lifelike for as long as the forces of entropy will allow. But in the Land of the Dead, where the currency is time itself and there is little for corpses to do but drink, thieve, and gamble eternity away, Jacob abandons his home and his fortune for an opportunity to meet the man who cheated the rules of life and death entirely.

According to legend, the Living Man is the only adventurer to ever cross into the underworld without dying first. It’s rumored he met his end somewhere in the labyrinth of pubs beneath Dead City’s streets, disappearing without a trace. Now Jacob’s vow to find the Living Man and follow him back to the land of the living sends him on a perilous journey through an underworld where the only certainty is decay.

Accompanying him are the boy Remington, an innocent with mysterious powers over the bones of the dead, and the hanged man Leopold l’Eclair, a flamboyant rogue whose criminal ambitions spark the undesired attention of the shadowy ruler known as the Magnate.

Review: DEAD BOYS is a strangely enchanting novel about those who live in the Land of the Dead. Jacob Campbell, a preservationist of corpses, along with Remington and Leopold l’Eclair, are off to find the Living Man. Most scoff at the legend of the Living Man, equating them with the fairy tales from the land of the living. However, Jacob believes in the Living Man, the only person to come to the Land of the Dead without dying first. The author’s writing is sharply descriptive, bringing to ‘life’ the places and people who populate the underworld. I think because the dead have nothing but time to dwell, their stories are more alive and real to them. Jacob’s quest for the Living Man becomes his sole purpose and along the way he discovers truths about himself, his compatriots, and his world. DEAD BOYS is a novel which successfully combines fantasy and horror in an inventive way.

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