Review: Where Shadows Lie: Bay City by JE Cammon

Where Shadows Lie: Bay City
JE Cammon
urban fantasy
March 2011
Eternal Press
ISBN: 9781615723058
154 pages
format: paperback
acquired: given to me by author

The blurb, from the publisher:
In the underbelly of the eastern US seaport of Bay City, supernatural and non-supernatural creatures alike strive to understand the meaning of life, to belong, or simply exist. David is one of them. He is far, far away from his clan. Before Nick, his only friend used to be a vampire named Jarvis. However, Nick’s only gift seems to be more of a curse: he brings change wherever he goes. When the three unlikely companions finally find the answers to their questions, they also find more mysteries needing to be solved. Eventually, they will all wish not to have been present on the evening when everything changed forever. Were the answers they received worth trading everything to darkness? After all, shadows lie. What’s a supernatural creature to do where the shadows’ lies carry the promise of home?

The review:
Set in Bay City, which is described as large seaport on the U.S. east coast (I just went ahead and started calling it Baltimore in my head…), Where Shadows Lie focuses on Nick, a student (of magical things); David, a werewolf; and Jarvis, a vampire. At the opening, Jarvis and David have an unusual and tentative friendship, as their two kinds are usually enemies. Nick comes into their lives in an abrupt and unexpected way, which starts a chain of events that changes everything for each of them.

One of my favorite things about this novel is Cammon’s treatment of vampires. Jarvis is a bit removed from the world he walks in. He interacts with others, earns a living, has a home, but when Cammon switches to Jarvis’ point of view, you realize how very different he is from David or Nick or any other living human. He walks in the world, but is not part of it, not really. As much as I like my vampires as metaphors for sex (Dracula) or just flat out sex objects (see Joss Whedon and Charlaine Harris for examples), I appreciate that someone is breaking from that idea and going with vampire-as-Other.

Nick and David are interesting enough, but for me the focus was Jarvis–I sort of lost interest in the other two in comparison. Nonetheless, I would like to have them both fleshed out further later in the series and learn why David is so far from his fellow werewolves, and where Nick goes next–and whose lives he changes just by being himself.

This is a tight narrative, with just enough description to set the scene and mood and no more. Brevity and economy of word is the main thing, here. It’s a nice change of pace for me, since I so often find myself reading those epic door-stopper epic fantasies. Because the narrative is so tight, I don’t feel that I can talk about the plot much without giving it away. Suffice it to say that I spent the last thirty pages wondering just what else was going to happen to these three, and how it all interlaced.

Where Shadows Lie is the first in a planned series, and I’m quite curious to see where Cammon goes with their stories, or if the series will even follow all three of these characters. I can see him moving forward with some of the secondary characters as well, as the two women, specifically, seemed more three-dimensional and well rounded than we often get with secondary characters…not bad when it’s clear that the author doesn’t believe in wasting words.

In all, I’d recommend this to friends and I’m looking forward to a time when book two in the series is available.
Visit the author’s Website.

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About Jessica

Dork extraordinaire, that's me! An unhealthy knowledge of Star Trek, a love of books, a fondness for purring cats.
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