Department 19 by Will Hill [Review]

Jamie Carpenter watched his father being shot dead two years ago. He may have thought life couldn’t get any worse, until a beautiful girl drops out of the sky with the intention of killing him, and then his mother is kidnapped.

Life is never going to be the same again for this sixteen-year-old!

As I posted the other day, I was lucky enough to the launch event at HarperCollins for this one, and everybody there that had already read it were singing its praises, (and I do mean everyone) as were most of the reviews that had started to surface.

I suspected from the blurb alone that this was one I was going to enjoy, but I have to say, I was a little nervous that it couldn’t be great as everyone was saying.

I started reading it on the train back home the following day, and the 3 1/2 hours it took to get back up to Bradford just flew by, the miles may not have existed at all for all I noticed them!

Department 19, as Jamie and ourselves quickly learn is a highly secret agency of the British government, charged with keeping vampire menace (and other paranormal creatures) under control, and if necessary, (which it usually is) exterminate that menace. These vampires are right nasty buggers, who revel in their murderous tendencies and who most certainly do not sparkle!

Jamie, soon also learns he is heir to part of the Department 19 legacy, as a descendent of one of the very early members. A painful legacy at times as he learns some potentially painful things about his father and his last few months in the agency.

Still, Department 19, looks after its own and has the resources available to help Jamie find his mother, and hopefully rescue her. Most prominent of those is his father’s former friend and associate, Victor Frankenstein. (Yes. Really. that Frankenstein!)

This, is a brilliantly plotted, action horror story, with fantastic and gory actions scenes 😉 and a back story that adds a sense of history to the world that totally allows you to suspend belief and believe in it. (In fact at the launch event, Will’s editor attempted to embarrass him by going into detail about just how much back story Will had worked out, specifically family trees for all the main families. Will, then admitted he actually had half page bios for all of them as well. Even though most will never even appear in the books.) They may not appear, but those that do, work better because of it.

It’s clear that this isn’t a book that’s been knocked out to capitalise on all things paranormal, but one from an author who loves his work and characters enough to do the job right.

It’s not all action either, the characters, especially Jamie and Larissa (the beautiful vampire girl, originally sent to kill him) are given plenty of room to develop, and tell their individual stories.

It’ll keep you reading to the final page and begging for the sequel. Not just because of a cliff-hanger (yes there is one, even though the main story resolves itself) but because you want to step right back into the world (well hiding behind a couple-of-dozen of the department’s best highly armed operatives, for safety’s sake, at least!), spend time with the characters, and see just what happens next.

Buy: Department 19 by Will Hill from The Book Depository

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