Underground by Kat Richardson

First and foremost, Will Novak is out of the picture! YAY! You didn’t have a personality, so I’m not going to miss you now that you’re gone! Also, apparently the quickest way to make a guy dump you is to reach into a zombie and rip it apart with your bare hands in front of him. Good information for you all.

It’s about bodies that show up in the Underground, which is where Seattle’s homeless live, and those bodies belong largely to Seattle’s homeless population. As it turns out, there’s also a monster that is eating people that is not a vampire.

This story strikes me as interesting in that it’s about the homeless population of Seattle and it seems a lot less judgmental or preachy about the situation. Quinton is among the population, though has converted a forgotten room under some stairs into a bachelor1 and is there willingly because he wanted to drop off the grid. Others are there for a variety of reasons and there’s never this push for them to get a job or that they’re a scourge on society, nor is there a message that they are all these poor unfortunates that should be pitied for their situation. Everyone is a person in a rough situation and it’s nice.

Speaking of Quinton, guess who’s ship just became canon!2 I am a little iffy on the timing, but I’m a lot happier with this relationship because he’s much more on her level with the magic stuff. he can’t do any of it, but he can come up with logic about it based on his own experiences and he’s not going to absolutely refuse it. They can talk and communicate about the important things going on in their lives, which makes this a far more healthy relationship.

The eventual monster is not vampires, though the vampires are still very much a presence in the book. Instead it’s something a little more local. There’s a nice use of Native American mythology in the story as well as Native characters. I have no idea how accurate any of it is, but I do wonder if Harper will continue to use feathers in her arsenal in the future. That one seemed incredibly useful.

And then the story gave me a year. Don’t say 2005. Harper just got a flip phone.3 She doesn’t appear to know what the internet is, despite it being her job to be an information broker of sorts. It just can’t be 2005. If it were, I’d be seriously questioning why she doesn’t at the very least google4 the name “JJ Purlis” before asking her boyfriend about his top secret past and taking it completely at face value. Is it because you want to [insert cheesy sex euphemism here] with him?

Come to think of it, Harper hasn’t done a single background check on a boyfriend yet. The woman, who works as a PI and apparently has a history of rough boyfriends, not at least looking up something to make sure her potential mates don’t have a violent crime history or personal attachment to a previous case she worked on at the very least strikes me as weird. Then again, I have googled my friends’ dates to make sure they aren’t crazy before they go out with them. If I continue to assume this takes place in a world before Google,5 I can kind of forgive it.

Guess who isn’t there for the climax this time! That’s right, no calling in Carlos! Instead she nearly gets a Dazinger killed, but you knew he wouldn’t die.6 She handles this one pretty much on her own, which was exactly what I wanted to see.

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  1. That may or may not have a washroom, I legitimately don’t remember []
  2. Mine. It’s my ship. []
  3. I assume it’s a flip phone. []
  4. Or Yahoo! []
  5. And assume that 2005 was a typo []
  6. If he did, she couldn’t call up Mara to constantly ask about magical stuff! []
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