This is the first book of the "A Bone Street Rumba" series. I picked up the book after a second recommendation for it, one from Claire and one from the XOXO slack. One of the strong recommendations from both was, "listen to this book." The book is read by the author, whose voice caresses the listener as it takes the listener on a wild ride.
So, I listened to this book more than I read it. The audio version recommendation? Totally worth it.
In this book, we are introduced to Carlos Delacruz, an in-betweener who is half-alive, half-dead. He worked as an agent for the New York Council of the Dead, a vague power group who directs its people to reap souls to keep the dead in the underworld, and the living out of the underworld. We learn about Carlos as he vaguely recalls things. He doesn't recall his life before his resurrection. He follows the rules of the Council. He leads the dead back to the underworld, or reaps their soul for the second death or some such.
At the beginning of the tale, Carlos meets up with another inbetweener, wait what, there are others? and kills him, per the order of the Council. Turns out, on his dying breath, the guy Carlos kills asks Carlos to watch over his sister, Sasha. Another wait what? She is also an inbetweener. And apparently very very hot. Of course they hook up. But what is this pull and what are all these ngks? Well, the ngks are tiny, exercise bike riding spirits with a hive mind contracted to kill an old spirit in order to open the entrance between the Underworld and the real world. They're kinda mean, too.
So, Carlos uncovers his past, Sasha's past, what the ngks are, who is orchestrating the opening of the Underworld, and just how meh the Council is. The book is a fun read, worth reading / listening to.
"At first? Chaos. The hungry dead will pour through the gate, scatter out into the world in their vast multitudes. The living will wander in. There is always a painful period of absolute crisis at the pinnacle of any great change.”