by Laura Anne Gilman

August 2004
ISBN: 0-373-80209-9
Reviewer Graphic Button LUNA Books
Trade Paperback

New York City has always had the reputation of accepting everyone, no matter what or who they are. In Wren Valere’s New York, the city abounds with an entire world hidden beneath the obvious. Taking a trip in her world is like getting hit by a bolt of lightning.

Wren makes her living as a Retriever. If a client comes and asks her to find something, she does, usually without any questions asked. Her job is fun and challenging. Wren is a Talent or magic-user. Of course, Talents prefer to call it current, the electricity that is in everything. It helps her to find the missing object and return them.

This most recent job is starting to fry her though. A cornerstone from a building is missing. The client is anxious to get it back. Yet, the deeper Wren looks into the circumstances, the more she’s beginning to realize that there is more involved than a simple retrieval. So she calls in some favors and finds even more questions than answers.

As she deals with all the other problems in her life, she’s begins to analyze those weird feelings she’s been having lately for her business partner, Sergei Didier. They’ve been partners for ten years. Sergei takes care of contacting the client and negotiating the deals. All those years they’ve been together are helping to turn her feelings of friendship into something more. Feelings that will have be dealt with after she finishes the case though because for Wren, distractions can be deadly.

Ms. Gilman has written a winner. I would suggest, if you love urban fantasy, to run to the nearest bookstore when this book comes out and pick up your copy. Wren is a tough as nails heroine with a soft soul. She’s practical enough to know that no one can really save the world, but she’s willing to try her best to save some of it. Sergei is a great hero. He’s more than capable of protecting Wren when she needs it, but understands that she really doesn’t want him to. He’s there to catch her when she falls and to cheer her when she succeeds. The romance is subtle. It has the feel of a comfortable relationship that is slowly blossoming into deeper feelings. The story moves along at a fast pace, keeping the reader guessing at every turn. And for a demon, P.B. sounds like a rather nice guy.

Staying Dead is a electrifying tale of a woman and a man standing firm, holding to each other and their trust, while the world around them tries to tear them apart. I will be counting the months until the next Retrievers book.

Reviewed in July 2004 by Jenni.

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