Madhouse by Rob Thurman
Review by David Stoit
‘My brother had spent a lifetime – mine, at least – telling me that I was normal, that I wasn’t a monster. With his help, I’d finally realized that as long as I could remain who I was, I could survive what I was. It was only bad genes…’
Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, aren’t exactly prospering with their preternatural detective agency. Who could have guessed that business would 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, dead set on making history with an orgy of blood and murder, is on a human killing spree. And for Cal and Niko, this is one paycheck they’re going to have to earn… if they survive to collect it.
But this evil might be too much for even Cal and Niko to handle, and to take it on, Cal will have to call forth the powerful talents he inherited from his unhuman father’s side of the family…
This is the third part of the Cal Leandros series. I strongly recommend to read them in the right order, but even out of order this would be a good choice. I will spoil a bit slightly in this review so if you’re still interested, you have been warned.
What can I say, I have become a fan of Thurman’s work. The first one hooked me up. The second one made me compulsively order the rest. This is the third in the dark Urban Fantasy series and in my opinion it doesn’t let you down.
Yes the attention of Cal’s family, father’s side, has turned down a notch. Leaving a void that isn’t easy to miss. But even without that obvious threat this book is great.
This story is written in the same narrative first person view as the first two books. Namely Cal having his sardonic, lazy but colourful way of communication. Which in itself is awesome enough, but next though that there’s lots of other great things about this story.
There is some mythical, less known stuff which I am a total nerdy fan off. Of course there is the badass brother love of Cal and Niko which is awesome, emotions without the endless stream of boolshit you’d normally expect when someone says ‘emotion’.
Cal in this story really struggles to come in term with his growing heritage. Slowly he comes to the conclusion that he really needs to develop his travelling skill because it is a part of him he can’t ignore, all the while trying to do it without burdening Niko with it.
The thing I liked most about this newfound power is the ‘evil’ thoughts that come with the use of its source. Cal really seems to struggle with it and so with his own identity. In this story Cal grows up and takes responsibility in a way painful but necessary for him.
A thing I liked was having Robin’s storyline a bit more in the spotlight. Robin actually is a quite interesting character that doesn’t leave a lot of his history loose. Being the target for a fierce assassination campaign does give some pretty good material for a story.
Another thing I liked was the main villain of the story, the Redcap. Feeding not only for food but for fun as well, and that in a manically mad way. I kind of liked the link with Cal and his new thoughts.
However there are a couple of thing I found slightly less than the previous two. I found the end slightly rushed, spoiling the plot a bit. That the Redcap wasn’t the source of the trouble wasn’t the worst. But the end of the Robin storyline kind of bugged me. It was unelaborate, slightly too easy, slightly to light an offense to have caused all of the trouble involved. It just wasn’t good for the credibility of the story.
A great but disputable thing about the end is that you have to have Deathwish, which is part four, because the cliff-hanger at the end forces you to read on. I will not spoil it, but I can guarantee you that the last couple of lines will give a strong incentive.
What did you think about Madhouse?
Submit your own reader review and award the book the rating you think it deserves.