cover image A Dead End Job

A Dead End Job

Justin Alcala. Parliament House, $6.99 e-book (322p) ISBN 978-1-953539-92-2

Alcala (Consumed) takes readers on a humorous romp through modern-day Chicago’s realm of the undead when workaholic Death hires a hitman to sub for him while he takes a vacation. Wounded army vet Buchanan Palasinski, abused as a child and mourning the death of his girlfriend, is desperate enough to kill people for money. But when his latest mark takes him out instead, Buck comes face-to-face with Death and Death’s IT guy, Jumbo. Jumbo’s elaborate computer program handles routine deaths, but Death needs someone to hunt down those who try to cheat their fate while he’s away. After Buck successfully dispatches singer Zombie Pete, who steals souls through his guitar, with Death’s powerful scythe—which transforms into a sniper rifle in Buck’s hands—Buck’s next target is famed gangster John Dillinger, who supposedly died in 1934 but lingers as a vampire. Buck recognizes Dillinger as the mark who killed him, but when he confronts Dillinger, he’s in for a shocking discovery. Alcala cultivates Chicago’s dark underbelly, revealing an abundance of obstacles and adversaries, among them a warlock, a doppelgänger, and Frankenstein’s Monster. Readers will merrily breeze through this twisty tale, cheering for droll Buck to rise above the danger. This proves a rewarding adventure for fans of urban paranormal. (Oct.)