Vivia Brisk knows about the dead. She should. She’s died enough times.
Vivia is a hag – or death witch – one of the last of her race, and can die, visit the underworld and return at will. As a consultant with charity The Lipscombe Trust, she has a job she loves — helping London’s most vulnerable supernaturals, even if her colleague Malcolm drives her round the bend on a daily basis.
Vivia thinks she’s got Malcolm’s measure – sexist, not too bright and generally a pain in the ass, but then Malcolm zombifies and, along with his fourteen year old son Ben, flees the police.
With a zombie on the loose, London goes into lock down and Vivia is roped in into find them. After all, Malcolm can only keep control so long without fresh flesh, and the risk of the zompocalypse increases the longer he’s on the lam.
At first what happened seems simple, but then the police find decades-old corpses hidden near Malcolm’s house, and Vivia begins to realise Malcolm’s missing son is in a lot more danger than from just a single zombie on the loose…
Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a review. This does not affect my review and the following is my honest opinion.
I’m not going to beat around the bush with this review: The Secret Dead is flat out amazing! Phenomenal even. S.W. Fairbrother has crafted a rich, interesting world over the modern city of London with such skill and talent that it sucks you right in! From the first page I was immersed in a London where street weasels and shifters were everyday and common. Where the police have the supernatural on staff and, while it might rub a few people the wrong way, they’re valued members of the force. The way the paranormal is so artfully woven with the mundane in the London of The Secret Dead is incredible. S.W. Fairbrother writes so beautifully and so well that it’s hard to believe this is the first in the Vivia Brisk series. Honestly, the storytelling in this book is beyond great!
I was riveted to the page, on the edge and worried for the characters who so easily slipped their way into my heart. Each time I learned another of their secrets I was even more invested and, quite happily so, left wanting to know more. S.W. Fairbrother not only built an immersive, exciting world but populated it with engaging, interesting characters. There’s something so believable, so human, about them all (even the ones that aren’t quite human) that they really came to life in my mind. I have so many questions and was given just the right amount of answers to leave me hungry for the next book. Which, to me, is the show of a truly remarkable author. If I’m sitting there stunned after finishing a book and my heart twisting in remorse for having finished, I know I’ve read something great. And I love this book. Seriously I cannot stop talking about it to everyone I meet. I’ve found one of my new favorite authors and I cannot wait for more! I fear I might be infected after reading this book! I may as well be a zombie from the pages of The Secret Dead with the way I’m going to mindlessly shamble about, waiting for the next installment!
If you like exciting paranormal mysteries with a strong, intriguing heroine, this book is for you. If you like paranormal detective work and a world filled with shapeshifters and undead and trolls and so many other fantastical beings, this book is for you. If you like worlds just this side of safe from a zombie apocalypse, this book is for you.
If you have a pulse, this book is for you. It’s so amazing I’d be shocked if someone didn’t like it.