Procession of the Dead happened to catch my eye at a local library sale as Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak and Demonata series were two of my favorites as a young, budding horror fan in a time of my life when I was in-between R. L. Stine and Stephen King. While less horror based than Shan’s other works, this novel is unique as it was written for an adult audience. The book is starts out as a “man with no past” story; protagonist Capac Raimi comes to a new city looking to make a name for himself via a life of crime.
As tends to happen in many of these stories, this new man on the block attracts the attention of the de facto Godfather in the city, The Cardinal, and quickly becomes the top crime boss’ rising star. Interesting, Capac is not really a bad person in the beginning. He goes into crime because he believes it is the only real way to make it big for a guy like him. But as he enters the darker areas of the criminal underworld, he becomes darker himself. The other characters are pretty interesting as well, but our insight into them is a little odd.
Despite the story being told from Capac’s point of view, he constantly narrates what the other characters are thinking. Capac himself seems to have a largely fluctuating personality throughout the book, swinging between good man doing bad things for the right reasons to somebody that has no problem being a monster. Not all of the characters are completely mentally stable, so that can provide a bit of an explanation along with another factor that I cannot mention because of spoilers. While these are faults they are relatively minor and should only distract readers who like to dissect their novels.
The other thing of note was the setting; we are never actually told where the story takes place. It is referred to as “The City” and is a stereotypical crime ridden city a la Gotham, Los Santos, etc. Procession of the Dead is the first of a trilogy; it was originally published under the title Ayuamarca and was heavily reedited before being rereleased as Procession of the Dead. While this book is not an award winner, it was interesting enough to enjoy the read and make me keep an eye out for the other two the next time I am at the bookstore.