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It's time to lock, load, and hit the road...

Once, while half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko were working on a case, an ancient gypsy queen gave them a good old-fashioned backstabbing. Now, just as their P.I. business hits a slow patch, the old crone shows up with a job.

She wants them to find a stolen coffin that contains a blight that makes the Black Death seem like a fond memory. But the thief has already left town, so the Leandros brothers are going on the road. And if they're very, very lucky, there might even be a return trip...

333 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published March 2, 2010

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About the author

Rob Thurman

32 books1,538 followers
Rob Thurman is currently writing three series for Penguin Putnam's imprint ROC FANTASY, as well as a brand-new mainstream series for Simon & Schuster's POCKET BOOKS.
Rob has also written for a Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner Anthology, WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE. This year, Rob contributed a post-apocalyptic, "grim" faerie tale Western to the anthology, COURTS OF THE FEY.

Rob's work is dark, non-stop action from beginning to end, rife with purely evil sarcasm as sharp as a switchblade - and probably nearly as illegal. If one shoved LORD OF THE RINGS,
THE SHINING, and PULP FICTION into a wood-chipper, the result would be what Rob aims to deliver in a novel or short story.

A member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), ROB THURMAN lives in RURAL Indiana - land of endless fields, infinite cows and where dialup is still the only soul-crushing option.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 183 reviews
Profile Image for Devann.
2,433 reviews131 followers
March 13, 2022
We used to have a neighbor when I was ten, for a few months before we moved again as we always did. She’d once told me that I was no better than I had to be. I hadn’t gotten that as a kid, and Niko for once hadn’t felt the need to explain it to me. No better than I had to be; seriously, what did that mean? I’d long since learned what it meant, and I knew Suyolak was no better than he had to be either, certainly no kinder than he had to be.

IT'S ROAD TRIP TIME! Sure it might be a cliche, but shoving Robin into a car with anyone and driving across the country is bound to be a disaster, especially when it means he has to be away from his new boyfriend ;) Anyway, I just really love this book and you could hardly pick a more mismatched group of people to throw in a car together. Obviously a classic trope for a reason.

There's a lot of great character dynamics going on with the close quarters, and it's great to see more of Rafferty and Catcher. I also love Catcher's POV and the parallels between Rafferty & Catcher and Niko & Cal. I'm a bit disappointed that Promise was not included here, but I absolutely love Deliilah so it's great to see more of her. I know it's by no means a 'healthy' relationship, but I love her and Cal together and if nothing else at least they are being 'honestly dishonest' with each other as Niko would say. Too bad she took things a bit too far finally.

Suyolak is a great villain and as a result this book has a lot of great body horror moments with all the diseases and really just a lot more 'horror movie' moments in general so it's nice to get a slightly different tone than some of the other books. Also I love the progression of Cal's Auphe powers here, although they do suffer a setback as well. I know it's awful but the more Auphe Cal is the happier I am, which is why the next book in the series is always a struggle for me -_-; Oh well, onwards and upwards!
Profile Image for Holly.
509 reviews509 followers
April 14, 2015
Rating: 6 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Depth of the Characters: 6 stars. Rob Thurman is a master at this.
Where it ranks in the series thus far: #1 - hands down the best and most emotionally engaging book of an already fantastic series.

This book made me cry. Not one or two random tears...this book made me sob like a baby that just had her favorite blanket stolen from her. Not because this was the end of the series (which it thankfully isn't) and not because ...no, I cried because this book was just...so...damn...good.

Okay, so crying myself into a massive headache sounds like a strange reaction to a good book. Lord knows it has only happened to me once or twice before. I guess the real reason i cried was due to the characters.I felt the pain and frustration of these characters...for the impossible choices they had to make. The characters of Niko, Cal and Robin have always been some of my favorites in any type of fiction, but with Roadkill we had the added bonus of Rafferty and Catcher. and they were the ones I was most drawn to here. I'm not really going to say anything about them (to avoid another weeping fit) other than to just let anyone reading this know that their relationship was so spot on perfect. And it mirrored the relationship between Cal & Niko...which was part of the reason their story destroyed me on such a deep level.

Rob Thurman has long been one of my favorite authors, but with Roadkill she had vaulted to the top of the pack.
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews256 followers
September 8, 2015
3 Stars

Roadkill does not live up to the first four books. I am a huge fan of Rob Thurman and her Cal Leandros series but was disappointed with this one. Like the last book, I am very annoyed that I have to read nearly 25% of this book as rehash of the past. Not only that, I have to have everything shoved down my throat repeatedly as if I am an idiot and might not have gotten the point the first 60 times that I am told. We all get it, Cal Leandros loves and respects his ass kicking brother. Yep, Cal is more than just human, he is part monster. I cannot believe how much time is wasted going over this again and again. I am also really put off with the continual whining of Cal about his past.

Well enough downers. Roadkill like the previous novels is a fun page turning urban fantasy. This is an easy read. I wish the Rob Thurman would stop wasting so much time and insulting us fans. I love her writing and this series and I want more.
Profile Image for Μαρία Γεωργοπούλου.
Author 4 books82 followers
November 25, 2014

I laughed...

...but I also cried...

...Simply... AWESOME!!

You can see this review also here: http://loveandlivetoread.wordpress.co...

I am speechless. I really don’t know how to review this book. Five stars are not enough. Actually, the whole night sky hasn’t enough stars for me to rate this book. This is definitely the best book in the series so far. “Roadkill” made me laugh and cry. The laughing I was expecting it but the crying part not so much. And I cried a lot.

It’s not an easy story. Our favorite characters have to deal with an evil like nothing before, known as the Plague of the World. But this evil isn’t the only thing that they have to deal with. They have to make very tough choices and that changes them.

Cal is going to be a great man. It’s like watching the making of now. He is wiser, stronger and more determined. He knows what he’s doing and he’s the kind of man who appreciates what he has in his life.

Niko, once more, shows us the power and the determination he has even if he’s only a human. I admire him because he’s a born fighter and survivor. It’s not a secret that he would do anything for his brother and I respect him for that. Many believe that it’s dangerous that, but I don’t agree. They live in a dark world and his brother is his only family. It’s necessary to do whatever it takes in order to protect him.

Goodfellow is amazing as always! He has the funniest lines in this story but I also liked the way he tries to change because of Ishiah. He seems like he doesn’t care for anything but that’s not true at all. And I am not going to say anything about Salome, his cat!!

The only character I don’t like at all is Delilah. She’s cold and boring. I don’t want to say anything more about her, just that I neither like her or trust her.

But in this book, we are learning about Rafferty and Catcher. I liked them both and for them I cried a lot. They are cousins and their relationship is pretty much like the one the brother have. I am not going to say anything because it would be a spoiler but I have to say this: prepare yourselves. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.

An amazing book from a great series! If you are a fan of urban fantasy, you have to read these books!
Profile Image for Turtledove27.
11 reviews
March 7, 2010
I am rating this book based on the other four. Roadkill wasnt nearly as good as the other four books. Cal spent a good 3/4ths of the book telling us things we already know. Rob Thurman has a tendency to believe that her readers for each book are either new to the series, or that they dont remember what happend in the previous books. The time she spent getting us 'up to speed' could have been used creating plot. What I love about this series is the interaction between the characters, but somehow that was lacking. Most of the book was spent in Cal's head instead of engaging us in his world.

What I liked: The end, it left it open to a new book, one probably about the Kin(warewolf mafia). I liked that Cal isn't done fighting with his Aphue half(Aphue 2/3rds?). I like the sub plot about Robin.

What I didn't like: too much back story for the fith book in a series. Catcher's naration sounded just like Cal's. Catchers naration added nothing to the story, unless Rod Thurman plans on a spin-off series. Niko didnt really have much of a part in the story(and I really like Niko).

When/if she writes another book in this series I will read it, but I think now that the Aphue are gone the story is gone aswell I really hope I'm wrong.
Profile Image for Jenn.
549 reviews29 followers
April 8, 2010
I was sooo excited to read this book and compared to the other books in the series, which happens to be one of my favorites, this one is the weakest. I'm sooo disappointed. The first 4 chapters were pretty much a re-hash of the previous 4 books in the series and an ode to brother/cousin love. It was incredibly repetitive and kind of waned my interest in the book. The book does get better once they hit the road.

As with 'Deathwish' the author splits the voice in the book. Instead of dividing it between Cal and Niko this one is split between Cal and Catcher, a 'healed' werewolf. Unfortunately, both of the characters had similar thoughts and verbiage so in some portions of the chapters I forgot who I was supposed to be reading.

I'm also a little disappointed in the limited roll of Robin. I love Robin and found his storyline in this book lacking. Although he did remain a highpoint. Also, I'm not a fan of Delilah. Cal needs a new love interest.

I have laughed out loud in portions of the previous books. I did not feel so inclined in this book.

Of the 5 in the series, Madhouse is my favorite.
Profile Image for Nicole.
Author 5 books37 followers
February 27, 2016
Very minor spoilers, but I thought I'd give a spoiler warning nevertheless.
I like Cal, Niko, and Robin more with each installment. And Robin's mummified pet cat, Salome, is just too much--talk about creepy and funny. My emotional attachment to the characters has grown, and there were a couple of things in this one that actually made me choke up a little. We'd seen Catcher and Rafferty briefly in a previous book; but this time, we got some of the action from Catcher's point of view. I like Catcher a lot; and I was sympathetic to his and Rafferty's plight, as well as amused by Catcher's observations and actions. The last chapter from his point of view really got to me. Cal slipping a little more toward the Auphe side made me cringe and feel awful for him. I was glad that Rafferty was able to get rid of the physical reminder of what happened, given what it means to Cal and his connection to Niko. I worry about what's next for Cal.
Having a situation in which Cal, Rafferty, Catcher, and Robin were travelling long distances in a car together was a whole lot of smart-assery. Rafferty's skills were impressively fierce, and doing battle with the super-scary villain nearly cost him too much. The way that played out was logical and convincing.
I really don't like Delilah. Thurman's done a great job in creating a character who's 100% dedicated to her own agenda, but--damn--I want Delilah to leave Cal the hell alone now. But I get the feeling that whole mess won't be over until one of them is dead.
Looking forward to more books!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Don Bradshaw.
2,324 reviews93 followers
May 12, 2016
In this episode, the guys and a few friends go up against The Plague of the World, the anti-healer. The story was not as good as the previous books because it was essentially a long car chase. I also found that with the extra characters that their individual POV's tended to overlap and get repetitious. There were quite a few high points but not as many as I was used to from the previous books. I still enjoyed this supernatural adventure.
Profile Image for Andrew.
148 reviews10 followers
February 22, 2023
Not my favourite in the series but still looking forward to the next one.
Profile Image for Kelly H. (Maybedog).
2,393 reviews219 followers
January 6, 2016
This one was a little too introspective and talky compared to previous books in the series and less action, sometimes taking up only a couple of paragraphs. The plot was fine if a little predictable. The final battle wasn't one of her best, not enough characters almost dying, but it was good. :)

But those Brothers moments just get me and there were several although I wanted more. Instead we got moments between cousins who were raised as brothers, and a delightful Wolf who was more dog-like than wolf with his happy-go-lucky personality. We also get a sweet m/m romance as well that had me "oh" sound you make when an adorable puppy face-plants: kind of "that's so adorable it makes me want to cry."

Delilah is back, who I can't stand, but we aren't supposed to like her as much this time around. I do like that she's lethal and can hold her own against many werewolves as a woman because there are so few women in this series but the only other woman in this story is evil.

My favorite parts, though, this time around involved Goodfellow. I've always loved his character anyway but he's vulnerable and confused here. He is wrestling with a big decision and trying to be celibate during the trip as a test to himself. His struggles are both hilarious and sympathetic as he is tempted by everything and everyone and is crabby as a result. But we see more of his goodness even if Cal doesn't always give him credit for it.

But the best part? The mummy cat. Now everyone knows I am not a cat person--they torture me with love on purpose as I am horribly allergic and they ALWAYS come to weave around my legs and climb on me; not anyone else, me. Most are strategically evil or stupid or both. But this cat is amazing. It's death on dead paws and everyone is scared of it. It's also really smart. The book explains why Robin is so enamored of it but I'm sold. I want a mummy cat too. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be allergic either.
Profile Image for Beanbag Love.
565 reviews246 followers
March 14, 2010
Cal and Niko are back for another dangerous mission. This time their old Rom nemesis, Abelia-Roo, contacts them to fix an apocalyptic screw-up that could mean the end of the world. Good times.

Along for the ride is everyone's favorite trickster, Robin Goodfellow, who's a bit out of sorts, experimenting with a concept that has been beyond his slightest consideration for centuries. Delilah, as well, bringing some extra danger and skin-tight white leathers along for the ride. Poor Cal.

The villain is a nasty old thing who makes everybody sick. Well, dead is more the term. And within seconds. He's an 'anti-healer', which means they need the best healer they can possibly get in order to balance the scales. Enter our old friend Rafferty and his beloved cousin Catcher to the eclectic mix. It's nice to see them again, but they haven't been having fun since they disappeared some two and a half years before. They add more than their share of poignancy to the story.

I'm giving this four stars, but it's more like 3.75. I often find road trip stories tedious, although some are pulled off well. This one definitely bogs down, but the climax, as with all of Thurman's work, is well worth the trip.

We're left with some questions and a few, slightly unsatisfying answers, but overall it's a pretty fun book. I think Thurman's actual word-smithing is improving, but the story had a redundancy the others didn't. And some of the characters' patterns of behavior are getting just a tiny bit stale.

Still, if you're a Cal and Niko Leandros fan, you'll be wanting to read this installment sooner rather than later. And, if you aren't, you probably haven't read the books yet and you need to get on that task.

December 18, 2015
i loved this book! it was just such great fun to read.

even though i wouldnt of minded part of the story being told from Niko's POV again Catchers was still pretty interesting and im glad for the incite into his relationship with his cousin and there back story, plus his thoughts on Cal were entertaining.
the way the book ended was incredible, im still not sure how i felt, it was an odd mixture of sadness, happiness, hope and maybe slight disappoint-ness because they werent able to help

i was a little worried at the start that catcher and raff's relationship and "issues" might be just a little to much like cal's and niko but the differences between there story and personality's was just enough to make the book more complex and fun to read.

i wonder who's POV were going to have next.. i was thinking we havent had Goodfellow's yet but im not sure we ever will... if i ever read what was going on in his sexual deviant mind i think i would be scarred for life, lol. but maybe him dating Ish is a set up for him toning down on all the sexual thoughts?? but i doubt it... maybe a new character like Catcher??

im not sure how i feel about Cal's change, and i have to say i was surprised Niko just seemed to accept it, i now i shouldnt be, we are talking about Niko but i thought it would at least make him pause for a second or something...guess i should of known better :P

Cal's temper tantrums are going to be epic from now on, lol i wonder is he's going to be to still work at the Ninth Circle?? im thinking he might not i suppose i'll just have to wait and see

im really looking forward to the next book.
Profile Image for Schnaucl.
870 reviews30 followers
April 6, 2010
An excellent continuation of the series. Thurman put to rest any doubts that the series could continue in the absence of the Auphe.

It was really nice to have some resolution to Catcher and Rafferty, although I wish it had turned out differently. I would have liked to see them join the cast of characters, I think it would have been good for Niko and Cal. The resolution was bittersweet, but fitting, I think. Thurman handled it very well.

I really hope that Salome comes back.

It was fun to see Robin grow as a character. He's still the puck we know and love, but he's more than that now, too. He's more mature. I hope it works out with him and Ishiah. I'd like to learn more about that relationship, too. How it developed, what Ishiah is like.

I figured out that Gating was going to be addictive after the high Cal got the first time. I'm not sure how I feel about it turning him more Auphe though. It seems kind of random that it would suddenly give him a high and activate the genes now that all the other Auphe are gone.

I liked the battle that Cal had to fight to keep his soul, I'm not sure I like that now there's a genetic component to it and it now appears to be a battle he will ultimately lose.

The thing with Delilah made for an interesting subplot. It seems sad that Cal can't love her, though I think it makes sense. Then again, Niko kills, too. I just hope it doesn't mean George is going to make a reappearance.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for L-D.
1,478 reviews64 followers
July 21, 2011
Okay - I'm a little on the fence with the 5th book of this series. It definitely veered from the other storylines. I enjoyed the fact that Nik and Cal switched POVs in the last two books. In this book, Cal & Nik take a job to stop the Plague of the World, a centuries old Rom who is an anti-healer with the power to destroy the world with virulence and disease. They recruit their healer friend, Rafferty, who has been searching for a cure for his cousin, Catcher, who is stuck in wolf form and losing his human personality. Rafferty believes that tracking down the anti-healer would give him enough power and knowledge to cure Catcher. The feel of this book is different than the others because the POV switches from Cal to Catcher. While it's an interesting idea on the author's part, I didn't feel as connected to Catcher as I did to reading about Nik. So to me it was somewhat of a loss. The secondary storyline is about Delilah, Cal's sometime wolf lover. Delilah's pack discover her affair with Cal and she must choose between Cal and her pack. Delilah has been in the last 3 books and frankly, I can't warm up to her at all and I could care less what happens to her. This also detracted from the overall story for me. I hope the next book gets back to Cal & Nik. That's the winning formula for me. 3.75 stars.
Profile Image for Jacqueline J.
3,462 reviews312 followers
March 9, 2010
I love this series and I loved this book. I was a little concerned going into this book that maybe the series was slipping because I didn't enjoy hearing from Nik's POV in the last book. I love Nik being his mysterious ninja self as seen through Cal's eyes. So happy we were back to that original format in this book. The sardonic wit that blows through these books is refreshingly different from the too serious take of some books in the genre or the puny tongue in cheek of others. The story moved at a hyper manic pace that kept me reading and when I misplaced the book for a couple of hours today I about had a fit until I found it behind the couch. It ended happy and it ended sad. No simple pat answers. Rob Thurman makes you think while entertaining you. One of the things I love best about these books is that beyond the humor and the swordplay and saving the world this is the story of two brothers who love each other. No matter what the monsters throw at them, you know that Nik will be there for Cal and Cal will be there for Nik. I hope my sons grow up to love each other as much. Only without the demons and evil gypsies. Like I tell everyone at the bookstore where I work, read these books. You won't regret it.
Profile Image for Dorri.
428 reviews26 followers
March 23, 2010
Another amusing horror story from Rob Thurman. Cal, Niko, and Robin are hired by psychotic Abelia-Roo, a grandmotherly Rom with a streak of cruelty that puts Hitler to shame, to find and retreive an iron coffin. The catch? An anti-healer called the Plague of the World, is slowly breaking the seals that keep him in the coffin and is leaving a trail of dead behind him. The Plague of the Worlds ultimate goal? The destruction of all living things. Thanks to an odd freindship, Niko manages to get Rafferty and his wolf cousin Catcher to help them. Only Rafferty's healing abilities are able to keep them alive through all the peachy little viral death traps the Plague of the World leave behind for them. A great side story in this is Robin's attempt at monogamy. Highly amusing. Cal's semi-girlfreind, Delihlia, is also along for the ride. The question Cal is asking is if she's there to help them or kill him. It will be a wonder to see who gets the honor of trying to kill him first. A great book that pulls you along with slices of horror mixed with a goodly dose of humor.
Profile Image for Ami.
5,773 reviews500 followers
January 31, 2011
While I always love roadtrip in a story, somehow this one doesn't really work. Maybe because the writing has divided the point of view into Cal's and Catcher's ... and as much as I like that wolf cousin of Rafferty's, he's never part of the "main" crowd. He's not Robin, he's not even Delilah (who appears in more books that Rafferty and Catcher). So I don't know why he seems to share the spotlight along with Cal. MAYBE, because his situation somehow resembles Cal, but I just find myself being distracted instead of caring.

There's too many things scattered ... and I find myself skimming in the last 1/3 of the book. HOPEFULLY, things will get better in book 6.
Profile Image for Wendy.
597 reviews17 followers
April 17, 2010
I really like this series but this book was just okay for me. Not a lot of the action that I have come to expect from the Leandros brothers. Much more philosophical musing in this books as compared to previous books.

On the plus side it was interesting to learn more about Rafferty and his cousin, Catcher, who we met in a previous book.

I didn't care for the Cal/Auphe aspect or even the Cal/Delilah line.

Hoping the next book goes back to what was great in the earlier books.
Profile Image for Penelope.
259 reviews
June 6, 2015
I really love the character development in this installment of the series. Goodfellow continues to be a source of great amusement, especially with his new pet. Caliban is even more tormented, if that is possible. And Niko continues to show why he is the best big brother in the world.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Brad Smith.
24 reviews
May 5, 2010
Cal and Niko hit the road to search for a missing Gypsy Healer who turned bad and was imprisoned for hundreds of years. Very fun read.
Profile Image for Rob.
284 reviews
May 22, 2010
Excellent read. The series continues to delight.
Profile Image for Jae.
540 reviews
August 29, 2021
The fifth book in Rob Thurman's "Cal Leandros" urban fantasy series. Once again told in alternating first-person points of view, although this time, aside from Cal, there were some chapters written in Catcher's pov. Catcher is the werewolf cousin of healer Rafferty and he is stuck in his wolf form.

Cal is horrified and dismayed when his brother Niko agrees to meet with the Rom queen whose machinations nearly got Nik killed once before. It seems Abelia Roo needs a favor--someone has stolen a coffin from her clan, one that contains an anti-healer who makes the Pestilence version of the Four Horsemen seem like a mutton-bustin' toddler. Reluctantly, the brothers take the case, but it involves hitting the road to track down the thief who stole Suyolak, coffin and all. Coming along for the ride: Robin (whose main squeeze, Ishiah, wants him to try monogamy for a change), Salome (Robin's lethal, mummified cat), Delilah (Cal's main squeeze, who may or may not be planning to kill him), healer Rafferty (who saved Cal's life when Niko tried to kill him), and Catcher (Rafferty's all-wolf cousin). Only Promise (Niko's main squeeze) seems to have had the sense to sit this one out.

On a race against the clock, Cal and company are desperately trying to catch up to Suyolak. The seals on the coffin are failing, unleashing death and destruction in his wake. There are also some monsters to deal with along the way, not the least of which is Cal himself. The ease with which he can now open gates and travel through them is bringing his Auphe half to the fore, and as far as Cal is concerned, it feels good.

Mercy. Okay. To begin with, I can safely say this has been my least favorite book in the series so far. Fight scenes were not as prevalent, and I didn't like seeing Cal go off the rails. At his lowest point, he seriously contemplated killing his brother--the only person in the world he loves and trusts. I suppose that's what addiction can do to you, however, and Cal was definitely getting addicted to the high of being (half)Auphe. Catcher's pov seemed an odd choice, but it helped to get his perspective on his situation. He knew he was losing his human self to the wolf and that Rafferty couldn't fix him. In a way, it mirrored Cal's descent into his demonic half. This time, I really would have liked to get Niko's pov. What torture it must have been for him to see and feel Cal slipping through his fingers--the brother he's spent nearly his entire life protecting. It was a melancholy and at times depressing read. Rafferty was wallowing in self-recrimination as he blamed himself for Catcher's state, Robin was wallowing in woe as he sought to remain faithful to Ish, Niko was growing despondent as he watched Cal unravel, Catcher was fighting to hang on to his humanity for Rafferty, not for himself, while Cal (and Delilah to some extent) watched the world burn. I think only Salome had a good time.

This one earns a four. Don't get me wrong, I loved it; I just didn't enjoy it as much as the others in the series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jon.
982 reviews12 followers
December 21, 2020
What is it we all love so much about road trips? From the drug-addled craziness of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to the inanity of Chevy Chase's Vacation, they seem to strike a chord in all of us. Roadkill is definitely one of those, on steroids.

Cal and Niko are approached by the old Rom witch, Abelia-Roo, with a problem to solve. Long long ago, one of the Rom healers, Suyolak, went over to the dark side, and became a killer, instead. Evidently, he was like Ebola and the Black Plague, all rolled into one horrible package. The Rom at the time were able to subdue him and imprison him within a coffin, sealed for eternity, though they were unable to kill him. Someone has stolen the coffin, unfortunately, and one of the seals on the coffin has been broken, letting him begin to work mischief, and if all the seals are broken and he is released, it could be like the Horsemen of the Apocalypse have been released on the earth, or at least the one called Plague.

Suckers for a sad story, as always, Cal and Niko take on the job, and along with their puck friend, Robin, head across country, chasing the truck containing the coffin, which has been stolen by a man who only knows the legends of Suyolak the healer, and is desperate for the Rom to heal his terminally ill wife.

As the saying goes (sort of) "It takes a healer to kill a healer", so Cal and Niko must first locate their old acquaintance, Rafferty, who once brought Cal back from the brink of death. Rafferty has been on his own quest to find a "cure" for his cousin, Catcher, who is slowly descending into the mindlessness of his Wolf side. Rafferty and Catcher are both werewolves, but when Catcher caught leukemia, Rafferty used his powers to cure the disease, but lost Catcher's human side somewhere in the process. This whole situation makes for a great deal of soul-searching internal conflict for both man and wolf, and produces an interesting side plot for the story.

Also, Cal and his Kin lover, Delilah's relationship has been discovered by Cabal, one of the leaders of the Kin, and she has been told to kill him or give him over to the Kin to kill. Cal's not sure exactly which way Delilah will jump, and she's tagging along on the road trip, riding her motorcycle, providing a slight frisson of fear for Cal every time she gets a little amorous. Cal is also having some trouble fighting off his Auphe half, which grows stronger every time he opens a gate. Since opening a gate gives him a rush like cocaine or opium, the temptation to give in is strong.

With all of these factors in play, the chase across country to destroy Suyolak before he destroys the world gets pretty intense. Lots of great dialog and interaction between the characters, some graphic violence, and a couple of good twists near the end.
Profile Image for Severina.
359 reviews3 followers
March 15, 2019
Cal Leandros and his half-brother are Rom … detectives?... who battle supernatural creatures. In this case, an old nemesis hires them to find The Plague of the World, an ancient Rom who has the ability to unleash any disease known to mankind upon the unsuspecting populace.

Another library book sale book. It turns out this is Book 5 of a series, but the author did a really good job of filling in the background details without making it seem like she was reminding the reader of the background details. Turns out Cal is half-Auphe, which is basically a First Evil type of monster, and he is constantly fighting against his Auphe side. He and his brother team up with a pair of werewolf cousins (one of whom is stuck in wolf form and, like Cal, also fighting a battle to remain human) to hunt down The Plague.

I'm really divided on this book. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the banter between the brothers and the internal musings of Cal were often quite funny. On the other hand, those musings sometimes rambled on for so long (and became so repetitive) that I forgot what had just been asked in 'real time' in the story. There is a truly creepy moment about three-quarters into the book, yet that's the only creepy moment in a book about *unleashing plagues* and the ending feels rushed. The characters are fun and have some nifty powers, but they're also just too good to be true (especially Cal's brother, who is fully human and has no 'excuse' to be as good as he is.)

Overall it was a fairly entertaining read, but I have no desire to pick up the other books in the series.
Profile Image for Mary Soon Lee.
Author 86 books56 followers
February 5, 2020
This is the fifth book in the Cal Leandros horror/urban-fantasy series. I've read the first five books in three weeks, and the reason for that is that I very, very much like the friendship between the two brothers, Cal and Niko. My favorite installment in the series thus far is book four, "Deathwish," which alternated between Cal's perspective and Niko's perspective. This fifth installment is mostly from Cal's point-of-view, but includes a thread from the point-of-view of Catcher, who is roughly the equivalent of a werewolf. I liked Catcher quite a bit, but I wasn't as invested in him as I am in Niko, and that was one of two reasons why I enjoyed this book a little less than "Deathwish." The second reason -- significant spoiler warning -- Nonetheless, I did enjoy this, and look forward to gobbling up the rest of the series soon.

About my reviews: I try to review every book I read, including those that I don't end up enjoying. The reviews are not scholarly, but just indicate my reaction as a reader, reading being my addiction. I am miserly with 5-star reviews; 4 stars means I liked a book very much; 3 stars means I liked it; 2 stars means I didn't like it (though often the 2-star books are very popular with other readers and/or are by authors whose other work I've loved).
7 reviews
November 28, 2020
Ok this was...Wow..

I loved it. Not at first, but somewhere along the ride I couldn't put the book down!

It's 4 stars because Niko wasn't there as much as I would've liked him to be.


I don't think I was scared of the Auphe as much as I should have until this book. What Cal did, what he thought of, it scared the **** out of me! I couldn't believe how fast he was losing control, and how easy it seemed to slip.

On the other hand, I found Niko's reaction to be, a little more controlled then I would've liked? The second worst thing had happened and he was...Accepting a lot more. I expected more denial, more anger but nothing.

As for the new focus on Catcher and his cousin, I have to say I was reluctant to follow that story but by the end? I drowned in my own tears. It was so...
I think I choked at the

And I LOVED the big bad of this book, he's smart, he's scary and grosser than any other. He is humans' worst enemy, an enemy that the world today, in 2020, is suffering from massively.

I loved it! I just wish Niko was more present, in his reactions, in his existence I know, Nik was a lowly human for him but still, he was sometimes non-existent.
But still one of the best reads of this series. And it's a lot coming from someone who is reading for the brothers first and foremost.
Profile Image for Megan.
548 reviews23 followers
July 24, 2017
First book in the series to disappoint me. It wasn't bad, but it was nowhere near as exciting as previous books. Too much narration and backstory harping, rather than moving on with the plot. By book 5, Thurman should be able to expect her audience to know at least some background to her universe, rather than explaining every detail every time. I was disappointed that Niko didn't get pov chapters this time. Catcher's chapters didn't add anything to the story other than to make the ending unnecessarily sad. Still a decent book and a great series. I continue to love Cal's development and his brotherly codependence. Here's hoping for a better Niko storyline in the next book.
Profile Image for Spuddie.
1,524 reviews84 followers
January 30, 2018
This book in the series took me a while to get through. I'd actually forgotten about the series for several years, so was excited when I came across the review I did for Book 4 and started this book as I absolutely loved the first four. This one seemed longer, and more convoluted, more draggy or something, more repetitive. I still enjoyed the world Thurman created in this urban fantasy, just wasn't as "into" this particular book. Still going to read on, though! I think there's 3 left.
Profile Image for Azrel.
105 reviews30 followers
December 18, 2017

Mostly for Catcher and Rafferty. Their storyline was the strongest part of the book IMO and the ending... Must not spoil anything.

Rob/Puck has his moments of awesome and hilarity too.
Profile Image for Franceska.
43 reviews
April 23, 2018
Trashy easy fun read

I feel like I’m being generous offering 2 stars as the writing is horrible, the structure a disaster and the plot utterly confusing but it’s a fun fast read when looking for a mental break from more serious works.
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