Title: Three Days to Dead (Dreg City, #1)
Author: Kelly Meding
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: November 24th 2009 by Dell
"I don´t recall the first time I died, but I do remember the second time I was born. Vividly."
This opening line pulls you dirctly into the fast-paced and action-packed story of "Three Days to Dead".
Evangeline Stone wakes up in a morgue, naked, in a stranger´s body and without any memory of how she got here or what has happened to her in the last few days of her life. But Evangeline is as member of a Triad, a group of three bounty hunters who clean the city of Dregs, supernatural creatuers like vampires, shapeshifters, goblins, or trolls. She has been trained to fight and kill and so she doesn´t back down. She sets out to find her handler Wyatt, the only ally, finds out that she is basically hunted by everyone and her only hope is discovering the secret she died for in the first place. Oh, and she has only three days left. Then, she´ll die again. For good.
Evangeline´s character is very well written. From the very beginning, the reader feels Evy´s confusion and panic, as she deals first with her memory loss and later with the gradually returing memories. The way she handles what has happend to her before her death is described both plausible and very empathetic. Even her outbursts of unjust anger and rage are understandable, as no matter what she tries, everything just gets worse. Not knowing whom to trust and the loss of old and new allys definetly take their toll on Evy. In addition to that, Evangeline also struggles with new, unknown feelings for Wyatt. She is unsure wheter they are a result of her deep felt need of protection or if they stem from the physical attraction Chalice (the former owner of the body Evy is in)feels for Wyatt.
The relationship between Evy and Wyatt, her handler is another aspect that is very well established in this book. During the book, Evy´s and Chalice´s personality seem to become gradually one and the relationship between Evy and Wyatt becomes sweet, tender and true.
This is also due to Wyatt´s character, who is fiercly loyal to Evy and obviously cares a great deal about her. Hearing him tell her that he doesn´t mind in whose body she´s in, because he loves her for who she is really made my heart melt. I suffered with him as, later on in the book, he blames himself more and more for Evy´s situation and is willing to pay the ultimate price to save her.
The unusual premise of the book (the heroine being brought back to live after being murdered to solve her owm murder), the worldbuilding and some of the scenes and settings in the book are very original, something totally new and so creative that you really have to admire Kelly Meding.
The story moves on so fast that you hardly find a moment to catch your breath. Still the characters don´t take a backseat.
I really enjoyed how Kelly Meding chose a flashback to describe the way Evy regained her memory. The countdown used at the beginning of every chapter to tell the time to Evy´s next death reminded me a little of 24. Somehow though it still helped to create a feeling of urgency, as you know that it´s a race against time where every lost minute could be crucial.
Even though I knew that there would be a second book in the series with Evy as main character, I still couldn´t figure out how Kelly Meding would end the story (I was so hoping for a Happily Ever After for Evy and Wyatt!). The whole stroy contained a few very surprising twists I didn´t see coming.
All in all, "Three Days to Dead" is one of the best Urban Fantasy debuts I´ve read this year. I can highly recommend it for everyone who likes their fantasy dark, gritty and action packed with just the right dose of romance.
4 of 5 points from me!
The next book in the series, "As Lie the Dead" is due on July 27th 2010 and sure to be on my TBR pile as soon as I can get my hands on it.
If you want to learn more about the author, go visit her homepage, blog or her page on facebook