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Monday, July 8, 2024

Review: The Dead Cat Tail Assassins by P Djèlí Clark

 


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OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Phenderson Djéli Clark is the author of the novel A Master of Djinn, and the award-winning and Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon nominated author of the novellas Ring Shout, The Black God’s Drums and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. His short stories have appeared in online venues such as Tor.com, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and in print anthologies including, Griots and Hidden Youth. You can find him on Twitter at @pdjeliclark and his blog The Disgruntled Haradrim.

FORMAT/INFO: The Dead Cat Tail Assassins will be published by Tordotcom on August 6th, 2024. It is 224 pages and is told from the POV of Eveen. It is available in hardcover and ebook formats.
 

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: As a member of the Dead Cat Tail Assassins, Eveen is a skilled, dangerous killer. She's also dead. At some point in her life, she dedicated herself to the Matron of Assassins, guaranteeing herself to be resurrected upon her death, her memories wiped, ready to serve as an elite contract assassins. The guild itself serves the Matron and only has a few, albeit unbreakable, rules. And one of those is that when you take a contract, you finish the job, no matter what. But when an encounter with a target starts to bring back memories that should be lost, Eveen becomes determined to find out the cause. But if one member of the Dead Cat Tail Assassins won't finish the job....the rest of them will.

The Dead Cat Tail Assassins is a tight, action-packed affair that earns every ounce of the pitch "John Wick meets D&D." Over the course of a night or two, Eveen must fight off assassin after assassin as she tries to untangle the mystery behind her target. Like a John Wick movie, each assassin has its own style of fighting or ambushing. It's a delight discovering what weird twisted technique or magic each assassin favors, and it catapults the adventure from scene to scene as Eveen and her target work to find answers before an assassin can put them both in the ground.

It does take a little bit for the story to get going, especially with some front-loading exposition at the beginning of the book. It's always hard to set up a fantasy world in such a short amount of time, so the occasional clunky line of dialogue is easy to forgive. That's especially true given that once the story takes off, it takes OFF. So if you're wondering where the action is at first - don't worry, it's coming.

CONCLUSION:
The Dead Cat Tail Assassins is an easy recommend for anyone looking for a quick adventure to devour. It's a fun time teasing out what is going on with Eveen's target, and the resolution of it was highly satisfactory. In short, P. Djèlí Clark has proven once again that he doesn't need a lot of space to create a fantastical, memorable adventure.

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