Michael Dempsey’s debut novel, Necropolis, is a great genre-crossing example of both fantasy and science fiction that will find an interested reader just about anywhere, whether it’s the urban fantasy setting of a former cop looking to solve the ultimate crime; a play on the concept of the hugely popular subject of the “undead”; or the interesting future of 2054 which seems a place no one would want to live.
Necropolis opens with an enchanting scene between Paul Donner and his beautiful wife that is ripped asunder and savagely ended by their untimely deaths. And then Paul is brought back to life fifty years later and becomes known as a “reborn”; the strange thing is from now on he will start to grow younger and younger. This is due to a strange retroviral attack on New York; beneath the blister the dead don’t always stay dead, though this isn’t true for everyone, only some come back to life. Elvis Presley is back, performing away, as well as all of the Beatles except John Lennon. And Paul Donner comes back with white hair and the horrible knowledge that he is a reborn, hated and ridiculed by society; he’s not even allowed to be a cop anymore. But Paul only cares about one thing: even though it’s fifty years later, he is planning to find out who killed him and his wife and get his revenge.
Necropolis seems a little frivolous with the use of tropes from this type of science fiction, with the down and out cop in a world he doesn’t understand, while the women the reader meets at first are all prostitutes or worse. The story of Paul’s death of course has links and ties to the origin of this strange retroviral attack that changed the world for the people of New York. The uniqueness of the story is with these reborns and their strange origin keeps the reader hooked as the plot grows and thickens until the unpredictable end.
Originally written on October 17, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.
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