I am a huge fan of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series (which is YA). I haven’t read her Weather Warden (adult) series mostly because I have to be very judicious of my reading time since the TBR shelf is burgeoning at the seams. So, when given the chance to read Working Stiff, the first in Ms. Caine’s new adult series (titled Revivalist) I was giddy. I love Ms. Caine’s writing style. As usually the action starts from the beginning and doesn’t stop til the end. Working Stiff is no exception.
Bryn Davis knows working at Fairview Mortuary isn’t the most glamorous career choice, but at least it offers stable employment–until she discovers her bosses using a drug that resurrects the clientele as part of an extortion racket. Now, Bryn faces being terminated–literally, and with extreme prejudice.
With the help of corporate double-agent Patrick McCallister, Bryn has a chance to take down the bigger problem–pharmaceutical company Pharmadene, which treats death as the ultimate corporate loyalty program. She’d better do it fast, before she becomes a zombie slave–a real working stiff. She’d be better off dead…
Bryn isn’t your typical hard-core UF heroine. She’s tough, don’t get me wrong. She grew up with multiple siblings, being somewhat in the middle (next to youngest child) and her parents barely had enough income to provide for them all. When she was old enough, she went to college and joined the military. Spent 4 years in active duty in Iraq. So, Bryn does have a tough streak to her…had to in order to survive. But, she’s not that kick ass and take names kind of girl, and that’s OK. She has a strong sense of what is right and wrong and is stubborn when it comes to doing the right thing and sticking up for what she believes in.
Bryn gets caught up in some really nasty dealings during her first couple of days at her first professional job as a funeral director. **minor spoiler**, She dies and is brought back to life. This sets the stage for the book and ultimately the rest of the series. She is basically blackmailed by the creator of this drug that brings people back to life into helping to find a rogue employee. I think Bryn would’ve ultimately agreed to assist even without the “blackmail” because of her sense of right and wrong and the happenings at the funeral home were definately not right, if you’d have asked Bryn.
Enter Patrick McCallister. He’s mysterious and seems all business. You get glimpses of his…er..less practical sides, but they are few and far between. I was guessing most of the book as to whether Ms. Caine ever intended on him being the love interest for Bryn. Rest assured, you do get an answer to this question. Bryn doesn’t trust him immediately (unlike Patrick’s “security guard” for Bryn, Joe Fideli), that trust happens over the course of the book. Though, unlike Bryn, I liked Patrick from the time we meet him. He’s kind of a hard ass at first, but I kind of wondered (especially after learning Joe was happily married and was most assuredly off the romantic interest list) if Patrick would step into that role. You see Patrick through Bryn’s eyes, and she’s pretty astute. She knew there was more to meet the eye, she just had to figure out what that “something” was. Overall, Patrick is an honorable guy, despite some of the things he’s had to do in his past.
Working Stiff was a great start to a new UF series for Ms. Caine. Ms. Caine knows how to brilliantly weave the world building into a compelling story arc. The setting is modern day and in the normal world (so far no supernaturals have appeared). The reason I’d say this is UF is because we are dealing with an unnatural element, a drug that can revive people after death. Sort of a quasi-zombie…but without the cravings for brains. People retain full function (eat food, drink, use restroom, have full facility of their personality and mind pre-death). The action starts off from the near beginning of Working Stiff and even at the end, doesn’t let up. It sets you up perfectly for the next book (not yet listed on author’s website as of the time of this review); and the rest of the series. Definitely recommend Working Stiff as an addition to the TBR shelf if you’re a UF fan.