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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

Title: Working Stiff
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Revivalist, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin Group
Format: E-book 
“What if death could be cured by a drug? What if you needed that drug every day ...or death would reclaim you? It's not hypothetical to Bryn Davis. It's her so-called life. Bryn Davis is new on the job as a funeral director, but even she knows that once you're dead, you ought to stay that way. 

But Fairview Mortuary has a hidden backroom business: resurrecting the dead for profit, at extortionate rates. Discovering her boss's secret may cost Bryn more than her life may just take away her death, too.” 
After a four-year tour in Irak, Bryn Davis is ready to go back to a civilian life and is very happy to start her new job as a funeral director at Fairview Mortuary. But her first day on the job turns in matter of hours from wanting to impress her boss to fighting for her life and losing the battle.
The last thing Bryn could have imagined was that her boss was trafficking a new and illegal drug call Returné, a drug that could bring a person back from the death. But for that person to stay “alive” he/she needs to receive a daily maintenance dose, if doses are missed the body will start to slowly decompose; without receiving the dose a revived person could last up to 6 days until his/her body completely decompose. While this process is going on the person would be conscious and cognizant all the time until him/she finds his/her final death.
Joe Fideli works for Pharmadene, the company that created Returné. He is investigating the trafficking of the drug and his investigation leads him to Fairview, where he crosses paths with Bryn during the day, but when he returns at night to investigate he confronts and kills Mr. Fairview and his accomplice and finds Bryn dead. Joe takes Bryn to Pharmadene, where she is given Returné and is brought back to “life”.
Now Bryn awakes to find herself undead and in a daily need of Returné. Pharmadene offers her a deal; they will give her the drug in exchange for her help catching the person who was giving Returné to Mr. Fairview. Bryn doesn’t have any other option than to accept their offer, her “life” is literally in Pharmadene’s hands. Bryn is supposed to pass as Mr. Fairview niece and heir of the Mortuary and wait for this person to contact her and help Pharmadene to apprehend him/her, she will be working in the Mortuary with Joe Fideli and Patrick McCallister will be her handler and contact with Pharmadene.
But, what would happen to her after they catch this person, are they going to continue giving her Returné indefinitely or are they going to let her rot? And what is the real purpose Pharmadene has for this drug?

Working Stiff is book one in the new Revivalist series by Rachel Caine.

Mrs. Caine really surprised me with this book because it is very different compared to everything I had read by her before (Weather Warden and Morganville Vampires). To begin with Working Stiff is darker, gruesome and very emotional and its main character is a weak woman with no powers or any weird ability, just a normal woman with a great inner strength.

Bryn Davis may have a military background but that doesn’t make her a kick ass heroine or a G.I Joe kind of girl, actually her background is just noticeable because of her PTSD. It was easy to connect with Bryn because her reactions and feelings are the same, as I would have in her place. Her life is completely messed up and now her future and actions are fully dependent of others. She has lost her autonomy and now she has to live with the daily fear of what could happen if Returné suddenly is not available for her. Let me tell you that I would not like to be in her situation.

The secondary characters are full of surprises, and I don’t want to giveaway too much away because Mrs. Caine really tricks us a little bit with them, so it’s better if you discover by yourself what I’m implying here. Let’s just say that Joe and Patrick are great, both are very sexy, strong, smart and as I said before full of surprises. There are other very interesting characters like couple of crazy Scientifics, a corporate dictator and psycho bad guys.

The plot is neatly drawn and well developed; the characters are enticing and real. There is action, intrigues, complots and mysteries. There is also a romance with unbroken promises and an uncertain future.
I knew Working Stiff was going to be good, Mrs. Caine knows what she is doing with her words and with Working Stiff she didn’t disappoints us. Working Stiff is a great first book to a new series and a must read to all Urban Fantasy lovers.

Please don’t feel deterred thinking that this book is another zombie book because it is not. Working Stiff is a very well written-original book, with an out of the norm theme.
I will be looking forward to the next installment of the Revivalist series. 

My favorite quotes
  • “Bryn, my job is to make sure you don’t do anything stupid. So yeah. I followed you. When you leave your house in the middle-class version of ninja clothes, I pay attention. You didn’t look like you were running out for milk and kibble.”
  • “…….. he made me promise to…” - “To end things for me,” Brynd said. “So I wouldn’t suffer.” – “Yeah. I thought you want to know that.” He pulled in a deep breath and let it out, slowly. “These are some fucked-up times if that’s romantic, Bryn.”
My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws

Other reviews Goodreads


  1. Hey BC,
    I really like different, I have this title on my TBR pile. Terrific review, I love authors who change it up, it's like discovering a new author!
    See ya,

  2. I am ridiculously excited to read this!!!

  3. Dana, Exactly what you said. This book was like discovering a new author. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    Smash, It was really good. I can't wait to hear what you think about it ;)

  4. Hmm... You were right in saying that I would not be sure about this book. Your review makes it sound amazing though. What to do, what to do? lol

  5. Hmmm...this one does sound interesting. I think I'm ganna stick it on my TBR list and see how I feel about it later on. I do like the cover, the girls stance is so powerful.


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