Review: Slashback by Rob Thurman

Slashback by Rob Thurman

Title: Slashback
Series: Cal Leandros #8
Author: Rob Thurman
Published: March 5th 2013 by Roc
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy

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Books 1-7 Series Spotlight

I stopped and let them circle me, first because it was intriguing and, second, because, honestly, what could they do? Only knives, but all armed, and that made them even more interesting. Interesting. Fun.


Taking on bloodthirsty supernatural monsters is how Caliban and Niko Leandros make a living. But years ago—before they became a force to be reckoned with—the brothers were almost victims of a very human serial killer.


Unfortunately for them, that particular depraved killer was working as apprentice to a creature far more malevolent—the legendary Spring-heeled Jack. He’s just hit town. He hasn’t forgotten what the Leandros brothers did to his murderous protégé. He hasn’t forgotten what they owe him.

And now they are going to pay… and pay… and pay.…

There is a nearly unkillable monster in town, and it has a grudge to settle–it wants to kill and skin the Leandros brothers, not necessarily in that order. Basically just another day at the office.

This book started out a little slow for me. I had trouble getting into it at first. I’m not sure why exactly, but luckily that all ended when I hit the middle and things started going to OH SHIT-ville. Rob Thurman writes excellent action scenes, with a truly imaginative array of weapons and tactics. Kill it with fire? check. Blow stuff up? check. Swordfight? check. Friggin machine gun? oh hell yeah check. All without a wavering willingness to put her characters through hell. They get banged up but good. Again. That’s par for the course with Cal and Niko Leandros. They may not always get out with all their parts attached, but they are not going down without a fight.

The biggest think I liked about this book is getting to read the flashbacks in Niko’s POV. Niko has always been a fascinating character, and I really enjoyed seeing the way he interacted with the little shit that was 11 year old Cal, all attitude even back then. Everyone should have an older brother like Niko. Even if his insistence on clean living drives Cal mad. Brotherly love has been the driving theme through all of these books, and I, for one, never tire of reading it.

As always, this series can get very dark. It touches on how easy it is for any person to scratch away that thin layer of civility and turn into a monster. Or how what everyone thinks is a monster, can end up doing good.

Then of course there is Robin Goodfellow, the shamelessly horny puck. One of my all time favorite side characters. Always up for a fight or a drink. It amuses me to no end to see him in a monogamous relationship.

I have to say, the last couple of pages through me for a WTF. Rob Thurman breaks quite a lot of this series’ pre-established rules in this book. Very intentionally, of course, and with good explanation. It’s going to be interesting to see where she takes it in the next book.


Rob Thurman is currently writing three series for Penguin Putnam’s imprint ROC FANTASY, as well as a brand-new mainstream series for Simon & Schuster’s POCKET BOOKS.
Rob has also written for a Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner Anthology, WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE. This year, Rob contributed a post-apocalyptic, “grim” faerie tale Western to the anthology, COURTS OF THE FEY.

Rob’s work is dark, non-stop action from beginning to end, rife with purely evil sarcasm as sharp as a switchblade – and probably nearly as illegal. If one shoved LORD OF THE RINGS,
THE SHINING, and PULP FICTION into a wood-chipper, the result would be what Rob aims to deliver in a novel or short story.

A member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), ROB THURMAN lives in RURAL Indiana – land of endless fields, infinite cows and where dialup is still the only soul-crushing option.

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