Josh Reviews: Dead on Delivery by Eileen Rendahl

Posted August 17, 2013 by Joshua Burns in Josh, Reviews, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves / 8 Comments

Josh Reviews: Dead on Delivery by Eileen Rendahl
Dead on Delivery by Eileen Rendahl
Series: Messenger #2
Published on: March 1st, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Werewolves
Pages: 309
Format: Paperback
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There are two men who have bitten the dust after a delivery from Messenger Melina Markowitz. As she tries to put together the pieces of this puzzle, she discovers that the two victims share common friends, common unexplained absences, and a common crime. Now, dark forces from the local community have been unleashed, drawing Melina into the web of a powerful woman, her voodoo, and her vengeance…

Dead on Delivery hews close to its protagonist’s humanity.   Melissa is just barely gifted in the supernatural department.   Her talent consists in delivering packages that other supernatural beings want delivered and aside from some unexplained boosted strength and sensory powers that is it.

This experiment, in creating a whole other subclass of supernatural – deemed a Messenger but it could just as well be named after Jason Statham’s premiere role, the Transporter – underneath and circulating between witches, werewolves, and vampires, works in that sure it makes sense but then you ask yourself why bother?   Can’t witches have their supernatural packages delivered by ordinary mail methods or just an owl?

Beyond her soon-to-be liquidated role as Messenger (just as soon as the rest of the supernaturals wisen up to how easy it is to dispatch packages with the USPS), Melissa utilizes sarcasm for every social interaction.   This can get old fast.   Her roommate, Norah, a New-Age yoga student who is so good it hurts, should be the grating one in this series but through some complex characterization and trauma she steals the show.   Her subplot feels more original than the suburban small town investigation Melissa manages to bungle further with each arrival in town.

For certain, Melissa is one of those protagonists who actually makes everything worse before she makes it better (and the making better part can be sufficiently argued against to make it fun).   I am a bit of a sucker, as always, for completely non-supernatural events and a nice dinner party about three quarters of the way through effectively sated my fix.   The love interest, Ted Goodnight…let’s just pause there.   Someone I’m not saying the author, Eileen Rendahl, gave up six names into the brainstorming session.   As a detective’s name perhaps it can be excused.   Noir names are often embarrassingly implausible.

Ted, beyond his odd last name, provides much of the reasonable support (just to reinforce gender stereotypes) in this relationship.   I guess you can be edgy enough to develop another subclass of supernaturals but you can’t throw a wrench in just who is the reasonable one in the relationship.   Of course, this may just add further to the humor, the type where we just keep laughing at Melissa for her sad handling of every situation.   It’s like she never learned how to live on Earth before but then again one could say that about most of us and that just confirms how human she really is and we are.

Books in this series:


Recommended: As a once yearly sarcasm immersion
Like this, like that: The OSI series by Jes Battis and the Nola O’ Grady series by Katherine Kerr


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Reviews UF/PR novels with an eye for weres of all kinds.

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8 responses to “Josh Reviews: Dead on Delivery by Eileen Rendahl

  1. I love your blog because you keep introducing me to new authors. I like a twist on the supernatural and it’s hard to create a niche when your creating your own category. But messengers have be in all kinds of mythology and maybe this character has not tapped into her full potential yet. Please keep up the fantastic work.

    • Thank you for the strong compliment. I grilled it for the Messenger aspect mainly because I think it has potential and like you, I do like to see new archetypes used rather than just warrior, saviour, etc.

    • Yeah, the supporting cast is really more often than not the main draw for me. Often they have more depth than the protagonist (I don’t know how this happens).