Tim Waggoner
Nekropolis Cover

Humorous, but in that bad joke kind of way


This is merely a fun read - don't expect anything more. I will read the sequel "Dead Streets" because the city of Nekropolis is a vivdly imagined, intriguing place that I enjoyed visiting - and the story of a zombie PI has a certain macabre appeal.

Waggoner spends much of his imagination on world-building, less so on the story - it's more a tour of the city and its grim creatures and many of Matt Richter's encounters with the Darkfolk do little or nothing to advance the plot. The rich textures and various layers of the city do save the novel from being truly bad - the ingeniously created Darkfolk is certainly worth a look: vermin, crossbred between chihuahua and piranha, insectoid demons, lycans, and even a brothel owner whose gender changes depending on her/his/its patrons' needs, to mention but a few in what eventually becomes an overkill of abhorrent critters. It is clear that Waggoner certainly had some fun creating ever-more inventive variants on common urban horror elements, even mixing in technology, but sadly at the expense of the reading experience. As the saying goes, less is more!

It's a flippent horror spoof, comically noir hodgepodge on Sam Spade. Overall, though, the novel is linguistically labored, suffers badly from a first-person perspective that tells, rather than shows, and should really have been 50-odd pages shorter. Not to mention the terrible editing, inexcusable for a professor who teaches composition and creative writing. But in a world where overbearing, Adonis-type vampires prance around woods eating deer and rabits and try to hump an equally overbearing, yet clumsy, lovestruck teen, Nekropolis is a welcome diversion.