Roxanne Longstreet, a.k.a. Rachel Caine
The Undead
(iUniverse, 2001)

A very early novel by Roxanne Longstreet (a.k.a. Rachel Caine, author of the Morganville Vampire, Weather Warden and Outcast Season series), The Undead is a typical early novel in some ways. Slight gaps in logic, some disjointed scenes and other little inconsistencies sprinkled throughout prevent me from enthusiastically recommending this book to non-Roxanne Longstreet/Rachel Caine fans. But if you are willing to overlook the problems, true fans will find a fairly satisfying read, with plenty of scenes in which you can see the seeds of the writer Roxanne has grown into today.

One of Roxanne's greatest gifts is her ability to make the reader empathize with characters. No matter the book, the characters are well-developed and believable. In The Undead, vampires lurk menacingly, and they are not the cute, cuddly, romantic-type vampires of modern urban fiction. These are serious, life-threatening, blood-sucking, kill-you-till-you're-dead vampires. And one of them is out to kill Michael Bowman's best friend, Adam Radburn. Through a series of twists and turns, Michael is drawn into a frightening world he cannot fully comprehend, only to be thrust more deeply into that world in an unexpected and chilling way, with results that are often heartbreaking and harrowing.

If you don't already love Rachel Caine, give it a pass. Fans of Caine, however, will find this early work interesting and for the most part, rewarding. While her later works are better developed, you can see the glimmer of her current style in this diamond in the rough.

review by
Belinda Christ

10 October 2009

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