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Back from the Undead (The Bloodhound Files, Book 5) (edition 2012)

by DD Barant

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1004120,775 (3.96)4
Member:JudithElaine
Title:Back from the Undead (The Bloodhound Files, Book 5)
Authors:DD Barant
Info:St. Martin's Paperbacks (2012), Edition: First Edition, Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
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Back from the Undead by D. D. Barant (Author)

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When Stoker, an old adversary of Jace's, contacts the NSA seeking help to break up a child trafficking ring, Jace isn't sure she should leap to the bait. If there's any chance that this could be true, Jace knows she has to try. Stopping child trafficking will see Jace cross the border where her badge doesn't hold as much power she's used to and if that were not enough, she's running out of ammunition for her gun, not that a gun will necessarily help her against the ancient God whose attention she seems to have unwittingly garnered. Just like everything else since Jace has entered Thropirelem, everything is SNAFU.

The hook for this story is supposedly a child trafficking ring; however, D.D. Barant quickly changes the focus and the child trafficking actually becomes an almost insignificant plot point. As a reader, it felt a little bit like a bait and switch situation for me, particularly given that the plot we were given is so very convoluted that at times it was hard to follow. Also, if you're going to bring up something as serious as child trafficking, you really need to follow through.

Thropirelem is an alternate universe in which vampires, Golems, and shifters exist in greater numbers than humans and have in fact take over the earth. This is not a book one should read if you have not already read the preceding four books. As it is, even with awareness of the backstory, Back from the Undead is hard to follow at times. D.D. Barant spends a lot of time on Shintoism in this book and introduces its concept of heaven and hell, as well as various deities. I will admit upfront that other than the kitsune, I know virtually nothing about Shintoism and therefore, I am no place to judge how Barant treated the belief system.

Having a large focus of Back from the Undead be Shintoism, naturally led to the inclusion of characters of colour, including the return of Tanaka. Unfortunately, the characters of colour were all evil in some way with the exception of Tanaka. This is a problem given that this series hasn't been particularly inclusive in terms of race. We did learn about Tanaka's back story and it turns out that he's a samurai who now feels that he owes Jace a debt because he betrayed her. Unfortunately, paying back this debt means sacrificing himself for Jace. If you're keeping score, this means that all of the Asians are evil and the only one who isn't dies. This isn't great.

As aforementioned, the number of characters of colour absolutely increased in this book however the only time racism is invoked is in reference to lems which are supernatural creatures who don't exist. Lem's are coded by the different kind of material used to give them a life force. A black enforcement Lem for instance is powered by dinosaur DNA.
You’re not even an enforcement lem—what, the police department couldn’t afford the real thing?”
“Budget cutbacks,” the pire says.
“Hey, that’s racist,” the lem says, sounding wounded. “The color of my skin doesn’t define what I can do—”
“You’re animated by the life force of a cow,” the pire says. “Not even a bull. A dairy cow.” (pg 160)
As aforementioned, Thropirelem is an alternate universe which for me took some of the joy out of a great majority of the story being set in Vancouver. It's not often that urban fantasy books are set in Canada, and so I always get excited but in this case, Vancouver is unrecognizable. In this world, the Canadian police are corrupt, Vancouver is a haven for drugs and gangs and so dangerous that the Americans have built a wall to keep Canadians out. I will say however that I loved Jace's interactions with the customs officials. Who hasn't wanted to pull the rug out from under a power hungry bureaucrat?

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Jan 3, 2017 |
One of the best Bloodhound Files books yet, Jace and Charlie are at the top of their game. Though the plot does get very esoteric near the end, it was not nearly as impenetrable as prior mysteries (time-travel, etc.). ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
A solid entry. She catches Stoker. Wish that Charlie and Eisfanger would be given more proactive roles -- they are much too qualified to be just the followers. ( )
  bgknighton | Mar 20, 2013 |
My love for The Bloodhound Files series increases with each installment! In Back from the Undead, we get more offbeat humor, more Charlie, and more development of the overarching plot of the books. What more could I ask for? I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Jace & co. in the next book, Undead to the World, coming out in November 2012. ( )
  les121 | May 22, 2012 |
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Another work day, another case for the Bloodhound Files. But this time, Jace is truly stumped: How is she, a mere human, supposed to penetrate the dark heart of a child-trafficking ring of pire orphans - one that turns out to be part of a blood-farm operation, in the crime-ridden border city of Vancouver, British Columbia?

Jace is in over her head. But with the help of her former lover, Tanaka, - whose family is one of the last samurai clans left in Japan - she stands a chance at seeking justice for the condemned children.... Until the Yakuza tries to put an end to Jace's investigation. Jace risks more than death - this time, it's the fate of her very soul that's in danger.

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FBI profiler Jace Valchek teams up with her former lover, Tanaka, whose family is one of the last samurai clans left in Japan, to infiltrate a child-trafficking ring of pire orphans that is part of a blood-farm operation.

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