All the Dead Men is the sequel to Blood for the Sun by Errick Nunnally, both recently re-issued by Haverhill House Publishing. This is a werewolf novel, but it’s unique not only because the protagonist comes from a mixed-race background (he comes from a black father and a mother from the Kainai nation of Saskatchewan in Canada), but also suffers from a condition like Alzheimer’s. The thing that struck me must about Alexander Smith, the protagonist, when we first meet him is the way his scent power works with analysis of clues to solve murders. Trigger warning: those who have issues with harm against children should be aware that Blood for the Sun starts off with it, and it continues in the next book as well.
Fans of the third season of True Detective who wished it had more of a supernatural twist will definitely get a kick out of All the Dead Men, as Alexander continues to be haunted by his own personal demons. Nunnally excels at both the crime and supernatural elements, and has generated unique world-building facets to the restrictions as well as abilities of his supernatural characters. With his daughter, Ana, he hopes that she can somehow delay the inevitable—that immortals in this world eventually get hit with memory loss and insanity after they’ve been around for more than a century.
Alexander’s personal history is very interesting, but not bogged down by flashbacks or infodumps, which was refreshing to see.
I also enjoyed the Acknowledgments section of this text, in which the author described the urban fantasy landscape, why he prefers the term “horror thriller” and why he felt it was important to lend new voices to the popular genre. The most popular urban fantasies of the late 1990s and early 2000s in particular focused on white, mostly straight, women, or men (Harry Dresden, famously). I found it compelling that these books also gave him a chance to discover more about his own family’s roots.
This novel, like its predecessor, starts off with our werewolf Alexander, who is on the trail of a murder again, this time near Mount Rainier. Another disappeared girl, presumed dead, is at risk, and Alexander is the special expert that police rely on to find clues that they’re not picking up. This time, he gets an interesting tipoff from a frenemy, shall we say.
It’s an action-packed supernatural thriller that readers who love urban fantasy will devour. Those with a penchant for mystery elements and solving cases will particularly enjoy this book and its predecessor. Although reading the first book will give the reader some good grounding into Alexander’s history, they will be able to follow along and pick up All the Dead Men without necessarily having read the first book. All the Dead Men gives a satisfying conclusion while also providing room for further books in the series.
Readers who loved Maurice Broaddus’s epic The Knights of Breton Court, Steven Van Patten’s tremendous vampire series that starts with Brookwater’s Curse, and indeed the fantastic L.A. Banks Vampire Huntress series beginning with Minion, will devour All the Dead Men by Errick Nunnally.