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Unfallen Dead by Mark Del Franco
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May 04, 2011

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Review brought to you by OBS staff member Verushka

The Connor Grey Series by Mark Del Franco is about a druid who lives in Boston and helps the cops solve those cases involving the supernatural and the Fey.

Hands up anyone who is thinking of Harry Dresden?

I know the similarities are the reason I picked the first novel in this series initially, but The Dresden Files have faltered for me in recent novels (I haven’t read anything since “Turncoat” and considering the blurbs on releases after, I don’t see myself going back) while this series has strengthened and distinguished itself from The Dresden Files.

“Unfallen Dead” brings Connor’s past to the fore, as his future progresses.
Dylan, an old partner when Connor worked for the Guild in New York comes to
Boston to take up a position in the Guild office there and Connor finds himself working
against a man he called a close friend and admired greatly. Dylan’s
presence also reveals that Connor’s memory losses in recent years
aren’t all that recent, for he has experienced them before and increases
the scope of what is currently plaguing Connor – the black mass in his
mind, blocking his powers. However, Dylan’s presence also proves to be the
weakest link in the book, for as interesting as Dylan is, and his
relationship with Connor was, not much is done with it at all. There is
some contrast to the relationship/partnership that Connor has with a human
cop, Murdock, but Dylan is sadly underused. I can only hope he returns in
later books.

Dylan’s presence and past with Connor also serves as a catalyst for the beginning of Connor’s “relationship” with Meryl, an archivist at the Guild. She is short, loud-mouthed, fiercely intelligent and more powerful than Connor and is prone to putting him in his place – a refreshing change from the usual female characters that populate urban fantasies. Meryl also has her own role to play in this book, along with a past and regrets that flesh her out beyond being just the exposition-girl in the novel.

The characters that populate this series are thus far more Fey/supernatural than human but as readers, our one constant link to humanity is Leonard Murdock; cop and friend to Connor. Murdock began as a cop turning to Connor for help with cases related to the supernatural, but quickly found himself drawn deeper into the Connor ‘s world. As a result of a case with Connor, Murdock has developed some powers of his own; though no one can explain how. We see him begin to try and deal with the power, try to control them better even as he very humanly refuses to acknowledge what it means for the other, very human parts of his life, like his bigoted, Police Commissioner father. It’s a very human reaction to have and I am so looking forward to see how this

In Book 3 occurs in the lead up to Samhain, when the dead will walk the earth. Connor, as the book begins, is called to testify regarding his actions in Book 2 in averting an apocalypse, while helping Murdock solve a murder case. As the book progresses those simple beginnings grow into something bigger and converge in a sense in a climactic battle against the Dead. The author is incredibly adept at holding the various threads of this book and the details of this world together for the climax of the book. And as always, underlying this is Connor’s own quest to find out what is happened to him when he lost his powers and how he can get them back.

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