"Zombies Sold Separately" is the fourth book in the Night Trackers series. This series is like crack for me. It has stereotypical characters, stiff dialogue, and other writing quirks that I find annoying (more below), and I yet I keep coming back.
When the book opens, Nyx, a half-Drow/half-human Night Tracker, is having bad dreams about a formless evil. Shortly afterward, Nyx and her team are called to the site of a grisly multiple homicide. The bodies have been ripped apart and chewed on by something doesn't possess claws or fangs (yes, she can tell from the bite marks). The scene makes Nyx feel sick. Completely understandable for a normal person, but Nyx, we're told, is a warrior at heart and not a princess; she doesn't feel entitled. Yet she lives on the Upper West Side in New York, wears expensive designer clothes, and is made queasy by blood and gore.
Meanwhile two new Trackers are added to the team to replace those who were killed in the last book. The new Trackers include Colin, a Dragon, and Penrod, a Sprite and younger brother of Negel from the previous book. Colin quickly became my favorite character in the book, and I hope we get to see more of him in future books.
More murders occur and Nyx finally sees the "creatures" that are doing the killing...and she freezes up. Apparently zombies figure prominently in an event from her childhood that is so traumatic she has repressed many of her memories of it . Fortunately, her new teammates - Colin and Penrod - fight off the zombies and save her. Later that night, when Rodan, leader of the Night Trackers in New York and her boss, tries to remove her as team leader, Nyx throws a hissy fit about how he doesn't "respect" her and she'll quit Tracking completely if he doesn't let her continue as leader of her team. She also accuses him of letting his feelings (Rodan and Nyx used to date) for her get in the way of his job. Um, no. Nyx is letting her emotions get the better of her and Rodan is making an intelligent decision. She is still fuming the next day - "what mattered was that he had tried to take [her] off the case entirely...that he had actually doubted [her]." Yeah, because she completely froze and had to have her team rescue her. Wonder why Rodan wasn't completely sure she could handle the situation?
Nyx spills the beans to her PI partner, Olivia, about the traumatic childhood event. Zombies had attempted to invade the Drow Otherworld when Nyx was five years old. One night, she witnessed her beloved older brother and a zombie disappear through a strange portal. No blood, no gore, no violence, yet this greatly scarred her emotionally. Nyx goes home to the Drow Otherworld to visit her parents and gets her father, the King of Drow, to tell her all about how the Drow battled against the zombie invasion. He also gives her a stone that was recovered from one of the zombies.
From there Nyx returns to New York, and with the help of her new team members, Rodan, and an exiled Sorcerer, she finds a way to stop the zombie invasion for good. There's also a romantic subplot involving Nyx's relationship with Detective Adam Boyd and Colin; this subplot does interrupt the action a few times, including a long sequence in the middle of the book, where Nyx meets Adam's family. Still, I like Colin enough that I'm glad he got more page time.
There are the obligatory amethyst/purple jokes (yeah, yeah, it's an old stale running joke at this point) and juvenile bickering amongst the Trackers that is, I think, supposed to be funny...if you were twelve. This book is written from Nyx's POV, and the author also seems to have bought stock in the word "my". For example, "I grabbed one of my long dress coats from my closet" instead of "I grabbed a long dress coat from the closet". This is one of numerous numerous examples where I wish an editor had exercised her red pencil. And some of the dialogue? Stiff as a board.
If you can overlook the writing, the action is good and Colin rocks.
The next book in the series is "Vampires Dead Ahead" and is slated to be released on November 29, 2011.