This is a strange book. Rather than the previous format of two short story collections and a mosaic novel, this subseries has two collections and now two mosiac novels (Ace in the Hole being the other). What’s strange is that it continues the same plotlines of the first two books and mostly takes place at the same time as Ace in the Hole. Rather than focusing primarily on Puppetman and the political plotline in Atlanta, Dead Man's Hand is set mostly in New York and deals with the death of Chrysalis, the investigation of Ti Malice.
As a stand alone or complete alternative to Ace in the Hole, I think it would have been a lot stronger. Once the stories merge and start replaying events we’ve already seen in Atlanta (albeit with a different point of view), it feels a lot more repetitive.
Characterwise, I actually found myself liking Jay “Popinjay” Ackroyd as a point of view. He’s surprisingly fun and has an amusing power that doesn’t make problems feel trivial for the most part. Yoeman on the other hand has never been my favorite. He’s got a quest for vengeance… and that’s about it? Even his relationship with Wraith feels more like a plot point then anything.
Oh, that Ti Malice plotline though. As the characters do finally acknowledge towards the end: if only everyone talked a bit more, life would go so much smoother. I will say, this book does the whole body horror thing relatively well. I’m glad to see that particularly plotline done (for now).
Overall, a decent book, if weakened by going over ground we’ve already covered.
Since this is the last audiobook currently out, I’ll put the series on hold for a while. I’ll probably read the paper copies eventually (albeit Kindleially). Some day.