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Helman Files: Desperate Souls

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desperatesouls.jpgHelman Files: Desperate Souls

Desperate Souls is the second book in the Jake Helman Files. Jake is an ex-cop who quit the force rather than submit to a drug test. He was doing coke at the time, so it seemed a better idea. He works as a private investigator, with a knack for dealing with the odd, having fought a demon and a genetics corporation who summoned it in his previous outing. Jake is all sorts of messed up, with the death of his significant other in the first book, the loss of his job, and the sudden clarity on issues of the existence of the supernatural.

Desperate Souls has the psychic who works in a downstairs office send a lady in distress his way. The grandmother and her nine year old grandson are looking for her older grandson, whom she claims to have seen the day before, walking around, dead, dealing drugs. Helman says he'll look into it, to letter know if he'll take her case. The grandson might be dealing Black Magic, a new, highly addictive drug, that is swamping the recreational use market, making crack and meth seem like harmless alternatives.

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Drugs and Death

Things spiral out of control quickly when Helman looks into the dead grandson issue. A confrontation with drug dealers who turn out to be dead, fast and deadly leaves bodies filled with saw dust and featuring the stitches of autopsies lying on the ground: no finger tips, no teeth and no toe tips. A high speed car chase with no regard for anyone else on the road forces Helman to escape by running his car over a barrier in Police Plaza and leaves him crippled in a few days later.

When the downstairs psychic cures his pain with a massage and happy ending, telling him he was cursed, Jake starts doing some research in data he picked up from the genetics company in the last book, as well as elsewhere, trying to figure out how Voodoo and Zombies work. His friends on the police task force are looking for a group of drug dealers that are knocking off rival gangs in brutal ways which just might have something to do with his case. Rather than tell his friends what's going on, he takes one to a warehouse where black magic is being produced and lets him experience zonbies for himself.

The book is violent, sexual and dark. The Dresden books, no matter how violent the situation feels, even in the last book, always feel hopeful. Dresden will win, Chicago and the world will be saved. Helman didn't have that feel. Violence happens, magic is used with no easy answers, characters good and bad are hacked to pieces by a group of machete wielders. Desperate Souls was enjoyable but not uplifting in tone. Kind of the difference between reading one of Parker's Spenser novels and one of Valin's Harry Stoner novels.

Check it out on Amazon: Helman Files: Desperate Souls

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