A MelanieM Review: All The World’s An Undead Stage (Offbeat Crimes #6) by Angel Martinez

Standard

Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Old actors never die shouldn’t be literally true.

Carrington Loveless III, skim-blood vampire and senior officer of Philly’s paranormal police department, has long suspected that someone’s targeting his squad. The increasingly bizarre and dangerous entities invading their city can’t be a coincidence. So when a walking corpse spouting Oscar Wilde attacks one of his officers, Carrington’s determined to uncover the evil mind behind it all.

As a rare books librarian, Erasmus Graham thought he understood some of the stranger things in life. Sharing a life with Carrington’s shown him he didn’t know the half of it. They’ve survived attack books and deadly dust bunnies together and got through mostly unscathed.

Now his world and his vampire’s appear ready to collide again. Books are missing from the rare books’ collection—old tomes of magic containing dangerous summonings and necromancy. He’s certain whoever’s been stalking the Seventy-Seventh is composing their end game.

It’s going to take a consolidated effort from paranormal police, librarians, and some not-quite-authorized civilians to head off the impending catastrophe.

As I said before, I’m sort of running out of superlatives here.  Angel Martinez and this series, Offbeat Crimes, has given us wildly imaginative and perfectly wonderful in every way characters, over the top creatures like ginormous pills bugs from space and lethal flying verse spitting books, an overall arc and villain to literally die for.  Of course, some of the main characters here are already dead, including Carr, aka  Det. Carrington Loveless III, a vampire who has a real distaste for blood and lives off a “blood lite” version that he still finds barely edible.  Oh and he’s in love with a rare books librarian Erasmus Graham.  What a couple, a great one among quite a few memorable ones with this series.

In All The World’s An Undead Stage (Offbeat Crimes #6) Angel Martinez brings this  particular arc to an end, although I’m hoping with all my heart not the series.  A evil mage has been targeting the Seventy-Seventh Precinct and we are soon to find out who and why.

And it involves  zombie actors spouting verse coming to kill them.  Nods.  Of course it does.  Makes perfect sense.  In an Angel Martinez world.

And that’s just the opening act as they say.

Because there are layers and layers to these stories.  It’s never just about the villain and his nefarious plans for…well…whatever.  It’s also about relationships, romantic ones, working dynamics, interspecies communication, even something beyond that here as the Precinct is made up of all types of intelligent beings even if we aren’t quite sure of their origin.  All The World’s An Undead Stage is about the beings inside of it, working together to survive, go forward, and yes, thrive while loving each other and keeping the world safe.

That’s a tall order when you are facing evil of this magnitude.

And I’ve come to care deeply about everyone, every character here due to the author’s superb characterizations and writing skills.  How else do you explain me sobbing away here:

Carrington took a quick glance back at Hunter and LJ.  They held each other tight–strange orphans abandoned on the darkest possible of nights. LJ lifted a sleeve in a wave and Carrington returned it with a salute.  They were, without a doubt, the bravest jackets he had ever met.

We are talking about animated clothing here.  Two jackets…a couple, (LJ a leather jacket and Hunter, a pea coat) who have become two of the characters I’m fondest of.  At that imagery?  I’m bawling like a baby.  Especially if you knew the rest of the context.  The author has over the course of this series given these jackets life and personality.  Oh, yes, love and a relationship. You forget you are crying over flying bits of linen and leather but recognize them as beings that levitate and love each other, that have pride in being part of the Seventy-Seventh Precinct and show fear of loss.

Extrapolate that depth of characterization to the cast of beings, the humans with quirky “talents”, the wolf cursed to be a human, the vampire who can’t stand blood, the firestarters, the shakers and quakers, all the couples and the ‘animals’ who make up the Seventy-Seventh.  They are all here in amazing detail and dimension, alive, vivid and believable.

Carrington and Erasmus are at the top of this story as they focus on their relationship while adding up clues, hunting missing books, and dealing with Carrington’s mother.  All the various story threads flow easily together, weaving in and out, like some weird, wonderful supernatural tapestry.  I arrived at the end far too quickly, a little shaken, counting all the characters to make sure everyone arrived safely (still not sure I counted right).  And now I’m squinting at some of those lines of the authors.

Hmmm.

I mean, it’s quite all right for 42 to be the answer to life, the universe and everything.  But really, “Someone feed the gouramis!”  Damn pesky fish.  More books, Ms Martinez, more books are definitely needed because as we all know carp are never to be trusted!

Read it…it will make sense..I promise you.  But if you are new to the series, don’t start here.  Read them all in order.  It’s such a pleasure watching the men, women, beings of the Seventy-Seventh learn to come together from a shaky beginning to the solid unit they are here that depends and yes, feels deep affection for each other (more for the couples).  For me this is a must read series.  I highly recommend it.

Cover art: Posh Gosh.  I like the covers and the way it brands the series.

Sales Links:  Pride Publishing | Amazon

Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published January 2nd 2018 by Pride Publishing
Original TitleAll the World’s an Undead Stage
ISBN139781786516602
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Offbeat Crimes – Add it to your Goodreads now:

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