Alek Fitz is a reaper, a collection agent who works for the supernatural elements of the world, tracking down debtors and solving problems for clients as diverse as the Lords of Hell, vampires, Haitian loa, and goblins. He’s even worked for the Tooth Fairy on occasion. Based out of Cleveland, Ohio, Alek is the best in the game. As a literal slave to his job, he doesn’t have a choice.
When Death comes looking for someone to track down a thief, Alek is flung into a mess of vengeful undead, supernatural bureaucracy, and a fledgling imp war. As the consequences of failure become dire, he has few leads, and the clock is ticking. Only with the help of his friend Maggie—an ancient djinn with a complex past—can he hope to recover the stolen property, save the world, and just maybe wring a favor out of the Great Constant himself.
It’s a hell of a job, but somebody’s got to do it . . .
Alek Fitz is used to working for all kinds of supernatural clients, but having Death itself show up at the office? That’s a new one. Alek, you see, is a reaper for Valkyrie Collections. That means when someone sells their soul to a demon, and then tries to renege when the soul come due, Alek is the one that shows up to make sure they deliver. But someone has been stealing souls from the demons who collect them, and it’s causing all kinds of imbalances in the afterlife. Death needs someone to discretely solve the problem and quick, because imbalances in the afterlife can quickly become problems for the living….
I love it when a bite-sized book packs a fully-charged punch, and that’s exactly what you’ll get in UNCANNY COLLATERAL. If you are at all a fan of urban fantasy, you’re pretty much guaranteed to love this. Uncanny Collateral takes place in a version of our world where “normal” people are aware of the supernatural, but many prefer to not get caught up in their affairs. Alek is unique in his own way, part human, part troll, with magical tattoos that give him extra strength and other certain abilities. On top of that, he’s literally stuck with a ring that contains a trapped jinn named Maggie, who lends an extra set of eyes (and occasional fire-blasting backup) to the case. The downside in Alek’s life? He was sold into slavery as a baby (that whole, I’ll give you my first-born child situation) and is magically bound to the owner of Valkyrie Collections. Alek is on the more rugged end of the detective-scale, the kind that can think through the angles of a case, but at the end of the day is used to solving problems with his fists.
The pacing for this story moves at a good clip, deftly balancing the twists and turns of the main case along with a mysterious stranger who is looking for Maggie’s ring. And while the main case will be solved, there’s a few hooks left dangling for ongoing mysteries for future books (a sequel was already released this year). My one complaint is that there are a LOT of moments where the story breaks for a beat to catch-up the audience on the lore of whatever monster or situation Alek is encountering. Sometimes it’s necessary, other times it feels like exposition the audience could have pieced together for themselves. But it’s a minor quibble for a book that I devoured in under a day.
In short, if you’re looking for a supernatural mystery to inject a little action into your day, pick up UNCANNY COLLATERAL!
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