I must admit, when I started into Locked Within, I thought, “Brilliant, another vampire novel”. I’m so glad I was wrong. Paul Anthony Shortt has created an awesomely fast paced, punchy supernatural narrative, with likeable characters, and a strong sense of story.
There are elements of Buffy the Vampire slayer (TV show, not the cheesy, cheesy movie), and an overall feel that reminded me of the Dresden Files (which I love), and it gave me a context to work from when reading it. Set in what I would call movie New York, the story picks up with Nathan Shepherd, an everyman if ever I’ve seen one, out with a friend investigating murders, as you do. Things don’t go quite to plan, spinning him into a world of vampires, ghouls and magic, and a century long war between factions fighting for control of their world.
I don’t want to talk too much about the factions, as I wouldn’t want to give away the story. The Reborn and the Council of Chains freakin’ hate each other, they are opposed, and poor Nathan is smack bang in the middle of it. The ‘Mundane’ storyline is very well written too, and by mundane, I mean the non-supernatural bit. Nathan’s family, friends, and girlfriend are all well crafted, 3 dimensional characters, which is brilliant. Too many authors in similar situations have simply seen these characters as filler, and not bothered to fill them out. Thankfully this isn’t an issue here.
All in all Shortt has managed to make a modern, fast paced story, which will hopefully be the basis of a new series. I’d certainly read the next one.