Book Review: Walking Dead by C.E. Murphy

Posted May 21, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Walking Dead by C.E. MurphyWalking Dead by C.E. Murphy
Series: Walker Papers #4
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Luna on August 18, 2009
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

Also in this series: "Easy Pickings"

For once, Joanne Walker's not out to save the world. She's come to terms with the host of shamanic powers she's been given, her job as a police detective has been relatively calm, and she's got a love life for the first time in memory. Not bad for a woman who started out the year mostly dead.

But it's Halloween, and the undead have just crashed Joanne's party.

Now, with her mentor Coyote still missing, she has to figure out how to break the spell that has let the ghosts, zombies and even the Wild Hunt come back. Unfortunately, there's no shamanic handbook explaining how to deal with the walking dead. And if they have anything to say about it—which they do—no one's getting out of there alive.

Also by this author: Thunderbird Falls, Demon Hunts, Winter Moon, "Easy Pickings"

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fourth in the Walker Papers urban fantasy series revolving around Joanne Walker. She’s been a detective with the Seattle Police Department for four months now. And barely longer as a shaman.

My Take
Crack me up…Joanne’s plan to not be recognized by wearing a mask is thwarted with that wolf whistle, lol. After events in Coyote Dreams, 3, Joanne has gotten more introspective about her perspective in childhood. I do like that she’s finally starting to accept that she has gifts.

I do enjoy Joanne’s engine metaphors; it’s amazing how many can be interpreted, ahem, sexually, lol. No, that’s not why I’m laughing though. It’s that Jo is amazingly shy about such things and is so used to being one of the guys, that I can’t help but laugh when she catches herself, accidentally revving someone’s engine.

Ooh, Seattle history lesson…hey, I like history!

Bloody insurance companies…oh, well, at least they’re consistent, even in books. Keeps that level of realism up, lol. And let Jo’s experience be a lesson to you. Do NOT try to save your insurance company money. They’ll just think you’re scamming them. Jerks. I did enjoy Billy’s comment when he realized what the brouhaha was about. Yep, he knows Joanie all right.

I like the idea that turning one’s back on evil can take away some of its power. Now if only that would work on…say…insurance companies or the government or…*eyebrow waggle, grin*

Okay, there are a couple of those tropes that piss me off. Y’all know these two. One is the “don’t tell anyone what you’ve learned lest they be able to help” trope. When you consider how much time could have been saved if she’d said something at the time…makes ya wanna weep. Although, it was a clever idea. The other is the “I can do it all myself” trope. *eye roll*

Whoa…it would be fascinating to see all possible futures. I know I’d like some warning. As for Joanne’s past and future…oh, it was so sad the possibilities. Then again, I had to laugh at Joanne’s acknowledgement of Suzanne’s practicality.

Poor Thor. He really likes Jo and wants to be supportive, only Jo’s feelings are focused elsewhere.

Bargains?! Oh, no. Cernunno and his bargains…it’s a tough one, and leaves yet another lesson in having compassion. So, I’m guessing Cernunno isn’t fae and is simply a god. Hmmm, simply…*scratches my head*. There’s a scene in which Joanne thanks Cernunno, and everything I’ve ever read says you don’t thank the fae, and yet the Wild Hunt has always been associated with the fae…*still scratching…*.

Eeewww…zombie squirrels chewing on your foot??! I guess that could explain Joanne’s sudden collapse…but I ain’t buyin’ it. It was stupid. I could see her freaking out, but not to this extent.

I knew it! Joanne’s screwed up again. Is this going to be a trend throughout the series? Joanne making mistakes because she can’t be bothered to learn?

I like Joanie’s explanation of reality. It’s simplistic, but—no pun intended, really—realistic. We each do carry our own reality around with us, and it does relate to our past experiences, our height, weight, looks, and more. None of which makes your reality or mine any less real or true.

The Story
Omigod! Joanne is giving a party. A Halloween party with dancing, costumes—skimpy costumes—and party activities. Who knew bobbing for apples could be so incredibly dangerous?

It’s the threat of ghost riders, old murder victims, who demand revenge that has Billy following Jo into her metaphysical garden to be sure there’s nothing waiting to pounce and use Jo as a carrier, but it’s a metaphysical nightmare that escalates when they learn that the Cauldron of Matholwch has disappeared in spite of some very strong protections and with some very disturbing coincidences.

It’s a race against time, and Joanne must prevent the ghosts from getting a toehold in our world.

The Characters
Officer Joanne Walker, a.k.a., Siobháan Grainne MacNamarra Walkingstick, half Cherokee and all shaman, works as a police officer in Seattle. She’s also learnt to bend light and disappear. Petite is her vintage ‘69 Mustang. She still has her shields: Gary’s Purple Heart, the Nuada-made rapier from Urban Shaman, 1, her mother’s Celtic cross pendant, and her copper bracelet. Gary Muldoon is a taxi driver who has become Joanne’s mentor and friend. Coyote, her not-quite-a spirit guide, had convinced a younger Joanne that change is an essential for a shaman. He’s still missing and the figures on Joanne’s drum are smearing.

The Seattle PD’s North Precinct
Captain James Michael Morrison is the boss she, sort of, turned down in Coyote Dreams, 3. Detective Billy Holliday is her partner and cross-dressing friend—he and his very-pregnant wife, Melinda, had great costumes. Melinda is his witchy wife; Caroline is Billy’s older sister; and, Brad is Billy’s brother. Jen Gonzales is in charge of Missing Persons.

The Seattle PD garage
Thor the Thunder God, a.k.a., Edward Johnson, is Joanne’s hunky boyfriend, and the guy who replaced her at the garage. He’s willing to do whatever it takes. Nick is her former boss.

Ayita was born second; Aidan was born first. Sheila Anne MacNamarra was her Irish mother; Joseph Leroy Walkingstick was her Cherokee father.

Sonata Smith is the medium and Patrick, a theologian, is Sonny’s partner. The ghostriders who have attached to Billy include a very determined Matilda Whitehead, Anne-Marie, Ricky Peterson, and the twins. Edith Whitehead was Matilda’s “deranged” mother.

After events in Urban Shaman, Joanne has taken up fencing with Phoebe Kostelis who has also become a friend. Suzanne Quinley, a little girl who can see into the future and wield the wild magic, is the only survivor of her earthbound family although her grandfather, Cernunno, is still alive after events in Urban Shaman. Cernunno, a.ka., Herne, a.k.a., the Horned God of the Hunt, is part of the Wild Hunt. The leader is his immortal son, the Young Rider.

Daniel Doherty is with First Ally Home-state Insurance.

Museum of Cultural Arts
Saul Sandburg is the museum director. Jason Chan and Archie Redding are the security guards. Ida is Redding’s wife, and they have two little girls. Meghan is one of the staffers. The Cauldron of Matholwch, a.k.a., the Black Cauldron, can bring back the dead per a legend regarding King Bran and his sister, Branwyn, who married King Matholwch. It comes with its own built-in protections.

The Dead Zone is another plane of existence.

The Cover
The cover is a nice pair of complements: oranges and blue. It’s Joanne with her back to us, wearing jeans and a yellow tank top—the beaded Indian belt and bracelet ensures we know of her heritage. The blue of the spirited horse from the Wild Hunt who is headed for Jo is starkly outlined by the fiery orange sky over the Seattle skyline.

The title is the focus, the Walking Dead are particularly active when the divide between our world and theirs is thin.

PR photo of Kathy Davie
Reviewed by Kathy Davie, who is fast gaining followers in Goodreads and Amazon for her honest book reviews. Passionate about reading, writing, and editing, she searches the Internet for tips, tricks, and warnings with a keen interest in ideas that will foster reading in children as well as adults while aiding writers in their craft. Kathy blogs daily at KD Did It Takes on Books.

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