I picked up Staked (or as my wonderful girlfriend prefers to call it, on account of the cover art, Stacked) because I thought it looked like a pleasantly trashy read for a business trip. Perhaps unfortunately for it, I didn’t actually read it unitl I got home.
It has a good first sentence:
Somewhere in the middle of my rant it occurred to me that I’d killed whoever it was I’d been yelling at, so arguing was no longer important.
I mostly like the setup, which melds elements of Memento (one of the viewpoint characters has strange blackouts and is not an entirely reliable narrator) and The Sopranos (he runs a strip club and power-jockeying in the underworld is the prime plot driver) with the now-standard Buffy/Laurell Hamilton-style modern world overrun by vampires, werewolves, and other things that go stab in the night.
My biggest complaint is lack of disclosure: the book is free of the usual “first in an exciting new series” cover blurb and the teaser for the next volume tacked after the last pages; it looks like a standalone novel, but it’s not. It resolves some of its conflicts, but structurally, it’s more like an episode of a dramatic TV series than a book that can stand on its own. I don’t necessarily mind that, but I prefer to know when I start a book if I can reasonably expect it to end.
The victory for Lewis is that I do want some what-happens-next satisfaction, so I will probably read at least one inevitable sequel despite the book’s other faults. The lack of internal consistency in the social environment bugged me (to be fair, this also bugs me about plenty of other books in the supernatural romance/thriller genre). Either killing people has consequences in a society or it doesn’t. For the presence or absence of those consequences to be determined by what’s expedient for the plot seems lazy. Staked also pushed my tolerance levels for cartoonish macho posturing and gratuitous violence.
But I do still want to know what happens next. Go figure.
needs more demons? not so much “more” as better use of the ones it has