Hold me Closer Necromancer is about Sam LaCroix, slacker extrordinaire, who is confronted at the Burger Joint where he works by a seemingly mild but terrifying man who calmly threatens him with bodily harm. In rapid succesion, Sam is attacked by a werewolf in the parking lot and his best friend's head is sent to him in a box, to verbally deliver an ultimatum. Sam finds out he's a necromancer, which his witch mother tried to hide from him. But really, there's only supposed to be one necromancer in Seattle. Sam is not it.
When Douglas, who is it, finds out about Sam, he begins to stalk him. Laura, my Bro-Worker, who is the Greatest Living Young Adult Librarian Alive (TM), was talking to me over lunch. She's all, "Like, I'm reading this great book, about this kid who finds out he's a Necromancer (Meh, I think), and who's being hunted by this crazy, more powerful necromancer (Meh, I think), so, GET THIS, the older Necromancer sends the kid his best friend's head in a box, still talking to him, as a warning." And I was like, "HOLY CRAP! DUDE, you had me a talking head in a box."
I did not hurt that the title is a play on an Elton John song title.
A big part of the fun of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is not that there'a crazy bad guy (TM). It's that he's so brutally, practically dismissive of other people's right to remain intact and alive. His only option is the nuclear option, but he does it so calmly. I really liked Sam's voice. He's casual, sharp, and self effacing, very Gen X, as filtered through Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I also liked that the setting is kitchen sink urban fantasy world, with vampires, faeries, and satyrs living under the noses of their irritating human neighbors. Anubis makes an appearance. It's always good to see Anubis. I personally like kitchen sink urban fantasy. Vampire urban fantasy always feels a little like the whole world is populated by loafer wearing Emo supermodels.
I felt that the story moved pretty well despite having an oddly static plot. Sam spends the first half of the book trying to find out what the hell is going on, asking his mom, his absentee dad's new family (necromancy is passed down in families, you see, like hair color or liking Paul Anka), really anyone he can reach who might have any kind of handle on what's going on. Then he gets kidnapped and spends the rest of the novel in a cage with a sexy werewolf chick.
There were a bunch of plot elements that didn't make a ton of sense, and some lazy plotting: after dealing with the Necromancer, by supernatural law Sam get's all the old Necromancer's Stuff. That was kind of Mary Sue. However, the personalities carried the book: His Mom, a witch afraid of her son's power to control the dead, enough to stick his power in a magical straight jacket. The sexy half werewolf half fey, born to lead her pack and now a crazy Necromaner's guinea pig, who needs to get Sam to butch up and find his Necromancer in time to save both of them. And Sam's loyal slacker buddies. Or the various parts of them. The cast of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer rocked the plot like a small press publisher rocks an orange zoot suit, which is to say, with more panache and heart than any vampire. Those loafer wearing bastards.