Title: Roadkill (Cal Leandros bk. 5)
Author: Rob Thurman
Length: 388 page
Genre: urban fantasy
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
Plot Basics: Cal Leandros is finally feeling free from his monstrous relatives. His older, watchful brother, Niko, is letting Cal take responsibility for himself. But, when a gypsy crone shows up looking for their help -- after nearly getting Niko killed -- Cal drives a hard bargain to agree to go after an anti-healer The Plague of the World, responsible for the Black Plague. The brothers -- along with Robin G,oodfellow -- start on a road trip racing against time to catch up with him, hoping their healer friend Rafferty has enough good mojo to save them all. But the Plague of the World won't let Cal get away without showing him what he truly is.
Banter Points: Rob Thurman is one of the best urban fantasy writers out there right now -- why? Because the monsters in her books are SCARY. Unlike lots of urban fantasy where things that should be monstrous tend to be the romantic entanglements, Thurman's monsters really are creepy. And she put that creepiness right in the reader's face with her protagonist, since Cal is half-monster. And you can't help but root for him. Even when he's having a creepy moment. (Of which he has a couple in this book...Word Nerd will refrain from saying anymore to avoid spoilers.)
Also, this book was a great turn in the series. She could have ended the story in book 4, but this one took the big plot in a great new direction. While there's still external baddies to deal with, Thurman opened up a whole new perspective on the characters' internal monsters. Makes for some great reading.
Bummer Points: So, without giving away too much, you might want to have a box of kleenex handy if you're a cry-er at books. Yep, even in urban fantasy. Word Nerd was warned, so she's didn't blubber too much, but it's very possible.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you haven't read Rob Thurman, what are you waiting for?