Study Guide

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer Summary

Working at a fast food joint isn't exactly most people's idea of living the dream, and so it goes for Sam LaCroix, a college dropout turned cashier and burger master. The job's not great, but it does have one major perk: He gets to work with his three best friends, Ramon, Brooke, and Frank. The quirky foursome makes life at Plumpy's bearable, especially thanks to games of Potato Hockey they play out back during their breaks.

It is during one such game that they accidentally smash the headlight of a very expensive car illegally parked in the Plumpy's lot. Oops. They laugh it off, though, and consider it no big deal… at least, until the owner, an extremely intimidating dude in a suit, comes into the restaurant holding the potato and demands an explanation. It's then that he takes a special interest in Sam, whom he berates for not making himself known to something called the Council and living in Seattle without their permission. Talk about a dissatisfied customer.

You run into all kinds of strange characters when working in customer service, so the gang figures this guy is just par for the course. Brooke goes home on her own, while the guys head to Sam's apartment to watch cult films. When they get to the parking lot, though, a guy with massive claws attacks Sam, mangles his back, and punches Frank's car as they attempt to escape. Sam feels a little uneasy about all this, but again, no one said working in the fast food industry was glamorous.

The next morning, a strange, bomb-shaped package arrives at Sam's apartment. It isn't a bomb—at least not literally—but it's definitely a bombshell plot-wise, since Brook's head is inside. And as if that isn't weird enough, the head is alive and still able to communicate, complete with Brooke's snarky personality. Inside the package is a note telling Sam to meet the sender at the Woodland Park Zoo… or else he'll send another message.

At the zoo, Sam has his first meeting with the notorious Douglas Montgomery, a local guy who makes a living as the most powerful necromancer in the northwestern United States. Maybe even in all of the United States. Douglas has won his power through some pretty sketchy maneuvers—mainly, killing other necromancers and stealing their abilities—and he plans to do the same thing to Sam. Why? Because Sam is a necromancer, too.

Having dispensed this news, Douglas gives Sam an ultimatum: Join Douglas for training in his powers, or have his family, friends, and eventually himself murdered. He has a week to decide.

Understandably, Sam's pretty freaked out. For one thing, he's a necromancer. For another, Douglas has already killed Brooke and plans to do the same to Sam's friends and family if he refuses to comply. Still, Sam keeps his cool and begins an investigation to find out if the necromancer rumor is actually true, and if so, why he's only now finding out about this.

Sam talks to his mother, who gives him the whole story: She and Sam's uncle, Nick, discovered his powers at birth and performed spells to bind them so he could hide from Douglas and the whole mess. Hmmm… That explains why Sam has never had knowledge of this. He's kind of ticked off at his mom for keeping something so huge from him, but Douglas's threat is looming, so Sam's investigation continues. He ends up contacting June Walker, a voodoo lady from New Orleans, who says she thinks she can help.

Meanwhile, exhausted from digging back into his family roots, Sam decides to go for a walk. While spending some quality time alone, Michael, the guy who attacked him in the parking lot, kidnaps Sam and takes him to Douglas's mansion.

Locked in the dungeon, Sam meets Bridin, a werewolf girl who is the daughter of Brannoc, the pack leader and the most powerful creature on the Council next to Douglas. Sam and Bridin are instantly attracted to each other and they end up engaging in adult human/werewolf activities. To each their own, we suppose.

Douglas has two purposes in mind in capturing Sam and Bridin. He wants to use Bridin as a subject for his scientific research on werewolf blood, as well as tick off her dad. His plans for Sam, though, are more sinister. Forcing Sam to begin his training, Douglas shows Sam the rudimentary elements of necromancy, but because of his binding, Sam kind of stinks at it. Douglas responds by throwing a tantrum and sending evil spirits to attack him.

Fortunately, that help June said she'd send makes an appearance in the form of Ashley, a harbinger who constantly texts on a Blackberry and is dressed like a Catholic schoolgirl. Ashley gives Sam a few tricks of the trade with raising the dead, then promises to use June to send messages to Sam and Bridin's families. In exchange, Sam agrees to give Ashley waffles every day for six months. Which is a lot of waffles.

Elsewhere, Ramon, Frank, and Brooke's head are panicking over Sam's absence. Ramon searches for clues on Sam's cellphone and discovers June's phone number. When he calls her, she informs him that Sam's binding needs to be broken and he has to have Sam's mom undo it. She also asks him to take a message to Bridin's pack and let Brannoc know Douglas captured her. Ramon fulfills both these requirements, and Sam's mom gets cracking on freeing his powers. Ramon also speaks with Brannoc and agrees to join the werewolves in attacking Douglas's mansion.

A massive battle ensues on Douglas's front lawn once word of Ramon and the werewolves' arrival reaches him, and in the midst of the chaos, a zombie attacks Ramon. By this time, Sam's mom has effectively unbound her son's powers, so Sam basically lets it rip, infuriating Douglas with this show of his abilities. Douglas decides to forgo the training and just kill Sam immediately, but as he begins to drain Sam's blood, Sam finds the strength to stab Douglas, killing him instantly.

Sam wakes up in the werewolves' private hospital, where he learns that because he killed Douglas, he's inherited both Douglas's property and his seat on the Council. He's also entitled to protection from the spirit world, which Ashley agrees to, along with Brooke (once Sam performs the ritual of reuniting her head with her body). Sam ends his adventure with a new sense of identity and embracing his rather bizarre history.

  • Chapter 1

    Dead Man's Party

    • Samhain Corvus LaCroix (better known as Sam) is living the dream as a college dropout working at Plumpy's, a fast food chain. Okay, not quite—he kind of hates the customers.
    • On the flipside, though, Sam really likes his coworkers. Along with Ramon, he works with Brooke, a hot blonde who looks like a cheerleader, and Frank, an overly eager, young employee whom Sam and his friends are desperately trying to crack.
    • Today starts out as just another day at the office for Sam. He handles a bunch of whiny customers, deals with a milkshake machine malfunction, and finally ends up on break, playing a rousing game of Potato Hockey with Ramon and Brooke. Things start to take a turn for the worse when the potato they're hitting around with a broom smacks right into the taillight of a Mercedes illegally parked in the Plumpy's lot.
    • An hour before Plumpy's closes, Sam is scraping gum off the bottoms of tables when a creepy looking guy in a suit comes in holding a potato and asks someone to explain it. Sam hides under the table, sensing that the dude is dangerous.
    • Creepy Dangerous Dude notices Sam, drags him out from the table, and starts interrogating him with a lot of nonsensical questions about what he's doing in Seattle, why he didn't petition some Council first, and why the dude didn't know he was here.
    • Understandably, Sam's kind of creeped out by this. The manager comes out of hiding to find out what the deal is, and Creepy Dangerous Dude leaves after assuring him that there is no problem.
    • As he leaves, Sam thinks that whoever he is, he hasn't seen the last of him.
  • Chapter 2

    Well, Ain't That a Kick in the Head?

    • To shake off the disturbing events of the night, Sam decides to join Frank and Ramon for a movie night. Because they're watching Conan the Barbarian and a lot of movies with misogynistic tendencies, Brooke decides to skip out and go home.
    • In the parking lot, a big, muscular pretty-boy comes over to their car and tells Sam he's been sent by Douglas Montgomery to talk to Sam. Like we're supposed to know who Douglas Montgomery is.
    • Sam and Ramon mock the guy and shoot off their mouths. This ends up being a bad move—the muscular guy attacks Sam from behind and beats the snot out of him.
    • It gets worse: The attacker tells Sam he smells like death. And blood. These are pretty powerful intimidation tactics, but Sam decides to defy him and fight back by screaming in his face and kicking him.
    • Because Sam's no match for this guy, Ramon does his part by breaking his skateboard over the attacker's head. He responds by punching Frank's car with his fist, knocking the bumper off. Wait. Did that really just happen?
    • The guys get in the car and make their escape, debating about exactly what happened back there—whether the dude was jacked up on drugs or just having serious anger issues. Sam is really just thankful they're safe, and that Brooke got out before the action went down.
  • Chapter 3

    These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

    • While Sam's recovering from being abused by a guy who is either drugged up or has superhuman strength, let's take a trip into the dark recesses of the mind of Douglas Montgomery. It's time to get some answers about who this guy is and what he wants.
    • Here's the deal with Douglas: He's a necromancer. And here's another bombshell: Sam is, too, and Douglas sees him as a threat to his power—so Sam must be destroyed, and Dougie has a plan for how to do it.
    • The first part has already gone down, and failed massively. He sent Michael, one of his associates, to peacefully, but forcefully assert Douglas's power by sending a message. Instead, though, Michael used excessive brute force to intimidate him.
    • Because of Michael's failure, Douglas must take matters into his own hands to show Sam that he means business. Right now, he's parked in Brooke's driveway after following her home from work. Yikes. We've seen enough horror movies to know that when the creepy dude follows the pretty girl home, things never go well for her.
    • Douglas is convinced that Sam is lying about not knowing about his powers because Douglas's necromancing abilities became evident when he was very young. He recalls going to his grandmother's house as a child dressed in itchy, dark clothes and meeting up with his cousin, Charlie.
    • Charlie looked kind of pale and wore pajamas when everyone else was dressed up. When Douglas's mom discovered them, Douglas explained that he was playing with Charlie—at which point Douglas's mom explained to him that they were gathered at his aunt's house for Charlie's funeral.
    • Douglas's aunt Lynn, who was also a necromancer, took him under her wing and spent the next several years teaching him everything she knew. This turned out to be a bad move: When he was sixteen, Douglas killed her and stole her powers.
    • Now he plans the do the same thing to Sam, and it all starts with going inside Brooke's house. While singing a creepy parody of "My Favorite Things." This can't be good, folks.
  • Chapter 4

    Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

    • Fresh off their encounter with Michael, Sam and the gang arrive back at Sam's apartment. They run into Mrs. Winalski, an elderly woman who flaunts her freedom and repeatedly encourages Sam to get laid. You do you, Mrs. Winalski.
    • In Sam's apartment, Ramon cleans Sam's bloody, scratched up back. Michael sure looked like a human, but the wounds look like claw marks and he was totally growling during the attack.
    • Sam and Ramon argue with Frank about whether or not they should call the cops and tell them about the attack. Sam rules that they won't go to the police because (1) they won't believe him, and (2) they might be attacked again if they make a report.
    • Sam is exhausted, but can't sleep; instead, he reminisces about his brief time in college, as well as the death of his stepfather, Haden, who wanted the Rolling Stones played at his funeral.
    • He also digs out a medicinal pouch emblazoned with a crow that his mom, an herbalist, gave him as a child. He was terrified that the house was haunted and had bad dreams, and she said wearing the pouch would keep the nightmares away.
    • The next day, a package arrives at Sam's apartment, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. Who does that anymore? Because it's not ticking, Sam assumes it's not a bomb and decides to open it.
    • When he does, Brooke's head spills out on the floor. Frank, Ramon, and Sam all start freaking out because, you know, their friend's severed head is on the linoleum.
    • And then Brooke's head starts talking, carrying on normal conversation as if she hasn't been brutally slaughtered. And she's still Brooke—funny, bubbly, and even kind of bossy.
    • After several moments of chaos, Sam takes Brooke's head into the living room and makes her comfortable on his armchair, even setting her up with a glass of water. (No, we don't know where the water goes once she drinks it.)
    • Brooke tells the guys that she's supposed to send a message to Sam. Sure enough, there's a note in the package telling him to be at the Woodland Park Zoo at 2:00PM—or another message will be sent.
  • Chapter 5

    She's a Lady

    • Sam isn't the only person Douglas is out to control: Bridin Blackthorn, the daughter of a powerful werewolf and heir to her father's throne, is being held captive in his dungeon.
    • Bridin wakes up drugged and naked in a cage inside a scary looking dungeon/torture chamber. She hears Michael arguing in the next room with another man she can't identify, who is angry at Michael for botching his mission.
    • The mission was this: to capture a werewolf from one of the weaker packs. Instead, he got the daughter of Brannoc, the wolf version of Don Corleone.
    • Bridin pieces together her capture, which happened while she was running in the park. It turns out that Bridin and Michael have battled before, and things have a way of not turning out in Michael's favor when that happens.
    • Bridin and Michael scuffle and insult each other and argue about whether Bridin's place in the line is rightfully his.
    • Michael is nothing to Bridin, but her captor—the Douglas Montgomery, leader of the Council—is another story. He's kind of terrifying. Douglas urges her to cooperate with him, and if she does, she'll be set free in a few days.
    • Here's the problem: Bridin isn't easily coerced into cooperating, and knows that because of this, Douglas won't release her. She wills herself to find a way out, while hoping that her pack comes for her in time.
  • Chapter 6

    Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

    • Douglas not only stripped Bridin and put her in a cage, he drugged her, too, so now she's having really bad nightmares that transport her back to random places in her past. Lucky us, her dreams teach us a little more about how werewolf society functions.
    • First, Bridin's practicing what seems to be werewolf judo with her brother Sean. It sounds pretty painful, but they seem to be enjoying it. Their older brother, Bran, shows up to give them tips, especially to Bridin, about how to defend against big guys.
    • Learning to were-fight is especially critical for Bridin because she's next in line to be something called the taoiseach—the werewolf pack leader.
    • The scene in the dream changes to another fight with Sean. She wins, but Bran attacks her from behind and pins her, telling Bridin that their father insisted he show her the consequences of overusing one of her moves.
    • Brannoc and Bridin have a heart-to-heart about what happened, and he tells her that she needs to be less afraid of making mistakes. He's proud that she takes her coming responsibilities so seriously, but she still needs more practice.
    • Back in the present, Douglas has an unconscious Bridin bound by her wrists and is doing some creepy medical research on her. He's drawing her blood and slicing her skin open with a special dagger to test her werewolf healing abilities.
    • In case you haven't figured it out yet, this guy is weird. Really weird.
  • Chapter 7

    I'm Gonna Keep My Sheep Suit On

    • Douglas temporarily abandons his Bridin experiment to go to an Irish pub called the Tongue and Buckle, but he's not there for a night on the town. It's time to head into the back room for a meeting of the mysterious Council we've heard so much about.
    • The Council is basically the northwestern branch of a national underground association of paranormal people. Its diversity is unmatched—vampires, fey-hounds, satyrs, furies, and just about every other creature you can imagine.
    • Brannoc, Bridin's fey-hound father, is present, which is probably super awkward for Douglas. After all, he's kind of holding dude's daughter hostage.
    • The Council hears several petitions from paranormal Seattle folks looking to move to another territory or bring family members in. Apparently, the Council's main duty is to keep track of the movement of these creatures throughout the region and country.
    • During a break, Douglas decides to mess with Brannoc's head, so he asks him when his daughter and heir to the throne will be joining them at a meeting. Brannoc assures him that when Bridin does take over his spot, things will be in capable hands.
  • Chapter 8

    Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

    • After that brief brush with the paranormal underworld, it's time to get back to the main story, specifically the Woodland Park Zoo, where Sam has just arrived to meet Douglas.
    • As he walks around the zoo, Sam reminisces about his dead stepfather, Haden, and a trip they took there when he was little. Sam was disturbed about how the tigers were kept in small cages and asked to donate his money to the zoo to build bigger facilities rather than buy ice cream. (Side note: Haden still bought him ice cream).
    • Sam's present visit to the zoo bears no resemblance to that outing. Douglas and Brooke's decapitation have him terrified. And as if that's not bad enough, he left his medicine pouch at home. Ugh.
    • Douglas and Sam meet at the panda exhibit. They get in a fight because Douglas doesn't believe at first that Sam really doesn't know about his necromancing powers. Eventually, though, he realizes that Sam seriously has no clue what's going on.
    • To prove his powers to him, Douglas tells Sam to close his eyes and look around. This makes no sense, but his mind somehow opens up a window where he can see a weird, tie-dyed version of the world. The people and animals all have different colored auras—except for one of the pandas and Sam, who are a dark blue color.
    • Douglas explains that the blue represents Sam's connection to the world of the dead. The panda sitting in the corner of the exhibit is blue because he's actually a zombie panda. The zoo brought Douglas in to raise him from the dead to avoid a diplomatic disaster with China.
    • Having proven that Sam is no ordinary guy, Douglas proposes for Sam to join him as his protégé. Power, prestige, and wealth come with being part of the necromancing world, which sounds like a pretty good deal.
    • Except in Sam's eyes, it's not. Power or no power, Douglas still killed Brooke, and Sam can't betray his friend like that. Douglas makes one last ultimatum in response: join or die. Either Sam accepts the deal, or his family and friends will be murdered one by one—and he has a week to make the choice.
  • Chapter 9

    The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

    • Sam comes home from the zoo to find Brooke's head watching TV. They talk about how evil Douglas is, what it's like for Brooke to await the discovery of her own body, and how her death wasn't Sam's fault.
    • Ramon shows up with his mom's homemade Mexican food, as well as a bunch of books about paranormal stuff, and a list of fortunetellers, psychics, and supernatural specialists from the Seattle area. They decide to spend the afternoon visiting them to see if they can hunt down more information.
    • For his part, Frank brings over a bowling ball bag and says it's the perfect size for Brooke's head so she can join them on their investigations. Brooke seems pretty happy about it.
    • They end up at the home of psychic Maya LaRouche. Maya has creepy copper penny-like eyes and knows a ton about Sam—enough to tell him to take Brooke's head out of the bag and take off his medicine pouch because it's messing up her psychic mojo.
    • Maya tells Sam that his powers have been bound and that it's too tight for her to see any details about who did it. What's weird is that it looks like two bindings to her, but she isn't sure.
    • At Ramon's insistence, Sam spills the whole story about Douglas to her. Basically, she concurs with his evaluation of the situation: Sam is "screwed." The only thing that might help him get some answers is to talk to the person who made the protective pouch for him.
    • In response, Sam decides it's time to make a stop at his mom's house.
  • Chapter 10

    Waiting, for a Girl Like You

    • Bridin wakes up and is immediately aware that she's been out of her cage—she can smell her own blood on herself. Whoa.
    • She makes an unsuccessful attempt at meditation that stops when she overhears Douglas talking to a mystery man named James in the next room. James tells Douglas that he staged things so it looks like Bridin "went away."
    • This means that her family likely won't be concerned about where she is, at least not for a while. Douglas is obviously biding his time to finish whatever task is at hand.
    • That task, apparently, is using Bridin as a test subject for Douglas's experiments on hybrid werewolves, like Bridin's family. His original plan was for Michael to kidnap one of the brothers, but he took Bridin instead.
    • With the second-most powerful were-hound in his grasp, Douglas must now try to gain decent research from Michael's mistake.
    • Bridin decides to be patient. Sooner or later, she'll find a way out.
  • Chapter 11

    She Loves Me Like a Rock

    • Sam, Ramon, and Brooke's head travel to the home of Sam's mom, Tia, to try to find out the truth about Sam's powers. Sam's mom is a hippie herbalist who lives in a house with a yard that resembles a jungle.
    • We also meet Sam's younger, more ambitious sister, Hayley. She's one of those people who's good at everything without having to work at being good at anything. Sam's simultaneously jealous and proud of this.
    • Sam's mom quickly realizes that something's up—the bruises all over his face give it away. As proof, Sam instructs Ramon to show her Brooke's head. Both Hayley and Sam's mom are shockingly not shocked by this.
    • Tia orders Ramon, Hayley, and Brooke's head into the living room so she can find out what's up. Understandably, Sam demands answers, and guilty of holding back a major secret for all these years, his mom begins to tell the story.
  • Chapter 12

    Sweet Child O' Mine

    • Tia begins by dropping another huge bombshell on Sam: She's a witch, which explains a lot, including her fixation on herbs and the creepy garden.
    • She shows Sam an incomplete cloth family tree she started to make for her first husband, Kevin. She tells him that Kevin gave extremely sketchy details about his family, so she did some magic to find out the name of his brother, Nick.
    • When she paid Nick a visit in his isolated cabin in the hills of Oregon, she learned that Kevin's family had more baggage than she bargained for: Nick was a necromancer. The necromancer gene never took root in Kevin, but that doesn't mean Tia's child couldn't have it, too.
    • Nick warned Tia against telling Kevin anything about her witch status because it would freak him out too much—Nick wasn't hiding out in the mountains for no reason.
    • He also warned her about Douglas, whom we all know is totally bonkers and totally dangerous.
    • When Sam was born, Tia did a spell with special herbs to determine if he had the necromancing gene, and was disturbed to find that he did. With this new information, she gave him his name. She'd already decided on Samhain because it would tick Kevin off. But what for a middle name?
    • As if on cue, a bunch of crows started gathering outside the window, accompanied by a really honkin' big head crow that scared her pants off.
    • Taking the crow gathering as some kind of omen, she chose to give Sam the middle name of Corvus—the Latin word for crow.
  • Chapter 13

    I Put a Spell on You, Because You're Mine

    • Tia now moves into the part of the story where the binding of Sam's powers occurred. It all went down because Nick showed up to visit her in the middle of the night.
    • Tia explained to Nick that she did the necromancer test and the results are in: Sam would take after his uncle. Nick tried to tell her this wasn't terrible news, even though it was clear that his life wasn't exactly awesome.
    • Desperate, Tia asked Nick if he would bind Sam's powers so his aura would be less recognizable and protect him from Douglas. Nick initially refused, but after holding Sam and sensing his incredible power, he changed his mind.
    • Tia's binding didn't work because she was exhausted from the birth, so Nick gave it a go, and this time it seemed to take.
  • Chapter 14

    The Devil Inside

    • With all the family secrets now out in the open, Sam tries to cope with what he's just heard. Tia tells him that the binding didn't completely do the trick—his power was so great that it kept leaking out—so in response, Tia made his medicine bag as a third line of defense to keep him hidden.
    • Sam begins to sense some disturbing emotions from his mom and can tell that she's afraid of him. She initially denies it, but later admits that his power is something truly frightening.
    • This only adds to the anger Sam feels about her keeping such a huge secret from him. Because he is just now finding out about the necromancer thing, Douglas is after him, Brooke is dead, and his own life is at stake. In response to this, Sam storms out of the house and refuses to accept Tia's apology.
    • Before he leaves, Sam has a chat with Hayley, who makes one last effort to convince him to forgive their mom. Sam refuses, but asks Hayley if she wants to take a trip next week to visit their dad's grave.
  • Chapter 15

    I Hear You Knockin', But You Can't Come In

    • Back at Sam's apartment, Ramon cleans Sam's back again. What a great friend.
    • Reflecting on what he learned at his mom's, Sam considers his options: He can join Douglas, but that's all kinds of evil and sketchy, or he can run away, like Nick. This doesn't work either, though, because it doesn't erase the danger to his friends and family.
    • Brooke is watching the news and has the surreal and devastating experience of seeing her house on television as the anchorman relates the story of her death; she asks Sam to change the channel. Eventually, Sam goes to bed, though sleep doesn't come easy.
    • The next morning, Ramon urgently wakes him up with some pretty anxiety-inducing news: The cops are at his apartment. They hide Brooke in her bowling bag and put it in the closet.
    • Detective Dunaway questions Ramon and Sam about whether they've been to work or talked to anyone at work, and where Sam's wounds came from. He's already talked to Mrs. Winalski, who established an alibi for Sam, but kind of made things worse by saying he was covered in various injuries.
    • Finally, the detective tells them what they already know: Brooke is dead. To Sam, hearing him say it out loud finally makes it real, and he feels devastated as he believes the truth at last.
    • Because Sam's wounds are like nothing the detective has ever seen, he takes some pictures of them and promises to keep them in the loop. Meanwhile, Sam's beginning to hatch a plan for the next step in his investigation.
  • Chapter 16

    Papa Was a Rolling Stone

    • Sam takes the ferry across Puget Sound to Bainbridge, a wooded island. He's hoping to get to sit down and talk this thing out with Kevin himself.
    • When he arrives at Kevin's house (courtesy of finding the address online), Kevin's hot trophy wife, Elaine, greets him and offers him cookies. Sam realizes that maybe Mrs. Winalski is right—if he thinks his stepmother is hot, there's something very wrong with this picture.
    • Sam asks Elaine if she's ever met Nick. There was one extremely awkward incident after her oldest daughter, Lilly, was born, when he came to visit while Kevin wasn't home.
    • Kevin abruptly returned home, having forgotten his keys, and totally freaked out on Nick and kicked him out. He told Elaine that Nick had "issues," but not to worry because Elaine's great genes would override it.
    • Then, Elaine asks Sam a really messed up question: Is Nick his father? Sam realizes that to get rid of him, Kevin tried to start over with Elaine by making it sound like Sam was Nick's son and Tia cheated on Kevin with him. Awesome.
    • Sam goes to the bathroom to accomplish his real mission: getting a lock of Kevin's hair so Tia can do her witch thing and track down Nick. Unfortunately, Elaine sent him to the guest bathroom, which doesn't get a lot of hair action, so his search turns up nothing.
    • On his way out, Lilly comes up to Elaine and says her sister, Sara, wet the bed during their naptime. While Elaine disappears to handle the situation, Sam chats with Lilly. When they shake hands, her hand is ice cold, and she can immediately tell that he is "like her."
    • Oh snap. Elaine's allegedly great genes didn't win. In an effort to escape his past, Kevin's just created a whole genetic army of necromancing offspring.
    • Lilly has pictures she's drawn of the dead people she can see. She shows them to Sam and asks if her friends are real, because her mom thinks they're just your average, run-of-the-mill imaginary friends.
    • For a moment, Sam debates telling her that they are imaginary—but since his current situation is proof positive of the fact that lying gets you nowhere, he tells her they are real. Sam asks Lilly to get him a piece of Kevin's hair, and she brings him a small travel brush.
    • Before he leaves, Sam meets Sara. She, too, has the necromancing power. He doesn't even have to shake her hand; he only has to look at her. He gives Elaine his number, with the intention of someday being able to offer help to the girls.
  • Chapter 17

    Strangers in the Night

    • Back at Casa de Samhain, Brooke, Ramon, Frank, and Sam share a pint of Chunky Monkey ice cream as Sam recounts the insanity of his visit with Elaine. Frank kills the rest of the ice cream and they argue about whether he owes Ramon another container.
    • Sam gets a phone call from June Walker, the sister of Maya LaRouche. June lives in New Orleans and left Seattle to—surprise, surprise—get away from Douglas. She says that Maya gave her his number and she thinks she can help.
    • For about the five-hundredth time, Sam recounts the events of the past two days. June says this whole thing is quite the conundrum—Sam can't flee Douglas and June can't come back. Plus, due to Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans would be too overwhelming for a necromancer who's just now discovering his power. Still, she'll try to send some help his way.
    • When Sam hangs up, he decides he needs a break from dealing with people and decides to go for a walk and be alone. Ramon doesn't think this is a good idea, but Sam goes off anyway.
    • Sure enough, it's not a good idea, and someone grabs Sam on the sidewalk.
  • Chapter 18

    Don't Rock the Boat, Baby

    • In a shocking turn of events, Douglas and Michael are Sam's abductors. Actually, maybe that's not really all that shocking. Still, he's in the back of Douglas's van and they're arguing about whether it's worth putting a seatbelt on him when they intend to kill him anyway.
    • Back at Douglas's House of Horrors, they throw Sam in the same cage as Bridin, who picks a fight with Michael by saying she thinks Sam's cute. Things eventually escalate to the two of them calling each other inbred.
    • Later, in his office, Douglas gets a visit from James… who seems to be a talking cat? Seriously—he has soft, padding feet, a tail, and arches his back. So, meow.
    • James reminds Douglas that the capture of Sam and Bridin has significantly increased his power, but that the Councils are growing weary of his manipulative tactics. If he tries to take over completely, it could result in war, as well as a bunch of paranormal creatures.
  • Chapter 19

    Kick-Start My Heart

    • Sam wakes up in the cage with Bridin. His head hurts and his eyes are painfully sensitive to light; Bridin says he's had a concussion.
    • He's shocked because Bridin is really sexy. And really naked.
    • He takes off his shirt and boxers so she can have some clothes, though he knows he'll regret it later.
    • Since Sam knows as much about the werewolf realm as we do, we finally get to learn about it as Bridin explains her life to him. She's actually half werewolf and half fey-hound, which is a way of saying she's half-fairy and half-hound.
    • She also explains the conflict going on with the werewolf community. Some time ago, they'd decided to start mating with the fey-hounds to strengthen the pack. Not everyone approved of this this, though, and the purebred werewolf party staged a rebellion that left a lot of wolves dead, including Bridin's mom.
    • Douglas shows up. He tells Sam that he knew he wasn't going to join Team Douglas, so he was abducted. He reiterates Sam's original ultimatum: He can allow Douglas to train him, or he can die. Right now. No pressure or anything.
    • Sam chooses to be trained, because he doesn't really have a choice or anything, so Douglas demonstrates how spirits are conjured using a magic circle drawn on the floor, which somehow links the world of the living to the world of the dead.
    • Sam makes an attempt at this, and immediately, an army of bloodied ghosts emerges and they attack him into a massive experience of pain.
    • Back in his cage, Sam hopes that June will soon send the help she promised.
  • Chapter 20

    C'mon, Baby, Don't Fear the Reaper

    • Michael allows Bridin and Sam to take showers, which has to feel awesome after being locked in a cage in a haunted dungeon. As Sam awaits his turn, he meets a black spotted cat, whom we all know is James, and thinks it's nice to see a normal animal for once. Um, think again.
    • Back in the cage, they get a breakfast of bread, cheese, and stew. Sam's surprised that they aren't starving them, but Bridin says it's because she needs more protein and has a faster metabolism.
    • Bridin explains to Sam that part of the reason she hates Michael so much is that the pack considers him persona non grata after he helped lead the rebellion that left her mom dead.
    • Later that day, Douglas's torturous lessons continue. This time, Douglas cuts his arm and makes him bleed as part of the next ritual, but because of the binding, Sam's powers won't get with the program.
    • As a result, Michael brings in a gray dove and Douglas asks Sam to help him kill it. When Sam objects to inflicting needless suffering on an animal, he explains that a sacrifice must be offered every time they enter the domain of death as necromancers—and that Douglas can kill either the dove or him. That settles that, we suppose.
    • With the sacrifice sufficiently paid, Douglas raises a dude named David from the dead, recognizing him as a guy who disappeared about a month ago. Sam interviews David about his murder and Douglas forces him to clean up the scary laboratory as some kind of zombie slave and reenact his death.
    • Douglas returns Sam to the cage, where he recounts his lesson for Bridin. She flirts with him and kisses him on the cheek. Being imprisoned in a scary dungeon aren't exactly ideal circumstances for romance, but Sam seems to be glad there's at least one good thing going on here.
    • Later, a good thing turns into something kind of awesome for the captives. Bridin is starting to wig out because she's been locked up too long and can't change, so as a way to relieve her insanity, she and Sam end up having human/werewolf sex.
    • When they're finished, things get super awkward when a little girl wearing what looks like a Catholic school uniform walks in on them. Her name is Ashley, and she's been sent by June to help Sam out of his jam.
    • Ashley is a Harbinger, which she describes as a guide for souls. We prefer Sam's description, though: "Death in Saddle Shoes." Call her what you will, but it looks like Sam's help has finally arrived.
  • Chapter 21

    Make a Little Birdhouse in My Soul

    • Sam recounts the events of the last few days to Ashley, who wishes she had popcorn so she could properly enjoy his misery.
    • When he gets to the part about necromancy running in his dad's family, he asks Ashley if it would be possible for her to check on the safety of his cousins—after all, Douglas going for little children doesn't exactly make for a great plot twist. She agrees.
    • Ashley also enlightens Sam to some of the more nuanced aspects of being a necromancer, specifically that blood offerings can get you a power boost within the circle, especially when you want to raise the dead.
    • She also tells Sam something unusual: Both his mom's and Nick's bindings of his powers worked. This explains not only why he had no awareness of his power, but why he's kind of always felt out of place—a strange, but significant part of him has been missing.
    • Ashley starts getting ready to leave, and Sam asks her if she could let Bridin's pack and his friends know where they are. Problem is, being dead comes with the harbinger territory, and only people like Sam (and those with them) can, well, see dead people.
    • Ashley can, however, communicate with June, who can send messages to the parties in question. Ashley agrees to do this in exchange for a small price: fancy waffles with whipped cream and fruit and all that jazz every day for six months. Apparently, dead people really like breakfast.
  • Chapter 22

    Easy Like Sunday Morning

    • Fearing that not talking to the cops after Sam's disappearance would make their crew look even shadier, Ramon agrees to have a sit-down with Detective Dunaway during his break at Plumpy's.
    • Ramon recounts what Sam did on the day of his disappearance—the trip to see Kevin's bizarre family, hanging with Frank, talking on the phone, and finally, his ill-fated walk to get some fresh air.
    • Detective Dunaway reveals that surveillance footage of Sam's back-slashing attack on the night Brooke died has been unearthed, and he can't figure out the guy punching Frank's car with his fist. We, of course, know it's because the guy punching the car is a werewolf, but that's not the kind of thing you say in a detective sit-down.
    • Ramon ruminates on Sam's last day, trying to find some detail that could crack things wide open. He suddenly recalls that he doesn't know who Sam was talking to on the phone.
    • After retrieving Sam's phone from his locker at work, he searches the call history for a number he doesn't recognize and calls it—June Walker answers.
    • June gives Ramon some directives that sound totally bizarre to him: First, he has to let Sam's mom know she has to break Sam's binding, and then, he has to call a mystery number and let them know someone named Brid is also okay. He gets the werewolves' voicemail and leaves a message at the beep.
    • Apart from his skateboard, Ramon has no mode of transportation, so he hits up Mrs. Winalski for a ride to Sam's mom's place. They hop in her 1965 Mustang and have a death-defying, harrowing drive, because Mrs. W. is evidently terrifying behind the wheel.
    • Upon arriving at Sam's mom's, Ramon gets another surprise: Tia and Haley, Sam's sister, know Mrs. W. Why, you ask? Because she's a witch, too. Honestly, Frank and Ramon are the only people in this book who aren't werewolves, witches, necromancers, or zombie heads.
    • Ramon delivers the message about Sam's binding, and Tia and Mrs. W. immediately try to go all double, double, toil and trouble on Sam's binding.
    • Ramon's phone rings. It's Brannoc returning his call, and demanding information about Bridin in his growling werewolf voice. When Ramon says Douglas has her, Brannoc says he knows where to find him.
    • Tired of just sitting around watching the witches do they witch thing, Ramon asks Brannoc to give him Douglas's address. Oh snap. Looks like things are about to get way out of control in the Land of Ramon…
  • Chapter 23

    School's Out Forever

    • Back in Douglas Montgomery's Chamber of Horrors, Sam is pretty much flunking Raising the Dead 101—and Douglas is taking his frustrations out on him.
    • When your back's already been torn to shreds by a werewolf and now an evil necromancer is whipping you with a riding crop, things have officially gotten out of control. Sam decides to bring out the big guns.
    • Remembering Ashley's instructions about blood making a necromancer circle more powerful, Sam uses fresh blood from his back to scrape the inside of the circle.
    • Things kind of get out of control from here: A giant hole in the air opens up, revealing Ashley talking to a pro-wrestler with a jackal's head. His name is Ed.
    • Ashley tells Sam she's super impressed—apparently, not many people can bring Ed to life.
    • Ed and Douglas get into a fight about something, and when Ed vanishes, Douglas starts smacking the daylights out of Sam again, asking if he's aware of what he's done. Apparently not.
  • Chapter 24

    Come Together, Right Now, Over Me

    • Ramon apparently borrowed Tia's car to get to Douglas's place, which is a real change from asking Mrs. W. for a ride. He's caught up in the sheer size of the property when someone grabs him from behind and tells him to nod if he's Ramon.
    • Brannoc, Bran, and Sean are leading the were-posse to get Bridin out of captivity. Brannoc tells Ramon that he can join them, but that it will be extremely dangerous. To Ramon, Sam being in danger is worse than anything that could happen to him.
  • Chapter 25

    I'm Gonna Break My Rusty Cage and Run

    • Sam wakes up strapped to a torture table and completely unaware of what Douglas is doing to him. To get some answers, Bridin suggests he summon Ashley.
    • When he does, she explains that Douglas is ticked because Sam summoned Ed—a higher-level entity he isn't even supposed to be able to resurrect. They put two and two together and figure out that Tia and Mrs. W.'s binding snapping spell must have worked.
    • Ashley helps Bridin bust out of her cage by telling Sam how to break the necromancy spell on it. Bridin then frees Sam.
    • Sam has to pretend to not be free when Michael and Douglas show up. As Douglas explains to Sam that he is about to kill him to steal his power (remember that business with his aunt all those years ago?), Bridin changes into a werewolf and attacks him.
    • In the midst of the attack, the cat Sam was petting when he first got there shows up and starts talking to Douglas. You'd think that after dealing with zombie pandas, decapitated cheerleaders, little girl necromancers, and werewolves that a talking cat would seem normal, but Sam's pretty freaked out.
    • James the Talking Cat tells Douglas that Ramon and the were-gang are outside about to storm the gates. Douglas grabs a knife and declares that the fight is on.
  • Chapter 26

    Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting

    • The chapter title should say it all: An epic battle between Douglas, the werewolves, Ramon, a tiny flying dragon, Douglas's garden statues of gnomes, minotaurs, and Greek gods is staged on the front lawn. Ramon manages to escape the carnage. It's time to free Sam and Bridin.
  • Chapter 27

    Unchain My Heart; Oh Please, Please Set Me Free

    • Back in Douglas's Chamber of Horrors, the fighting continues as Bridin and Michael go into hardcore werewolf combat mode. Douglas, on other hand, is bent on only one thing: killing Sam and stealing his power once and for all.
    • Douglas slits open Sam's arm and starts collecting his blood in a bowl, then takes Michael out of the room for a little meeting once he and Bridin are done besting each other. A drop of Sam's blood falls onto the ground, and he feels his powers surge.
    • He also recognizes something else: The spirits of all the people Douglas has killed in this room are surrounding him and are really ticked off. As his blood falls to the floor again, Sam decides to use his powers to conjure the dead to save him.
    • A giant army of dead people gets resurrected from the power of Sam's blood, and heads straight for Douglas, who tries to circumvent Sam's spell with one of his own. Now the zombie people are just attacking anything in their paths—not just him.
    • When Ramon walks through the door, Douglas motions for one of the zombies to head straight for him.
  • Chapter 28

    Beep Beep'm Beep Beep, Yeah

    • Tia and Haley arrive at Douglas's mansion, with Mrs. W. at the wheel of her crazy old lady mobile. The place is a wreck: the yard's torn up, minotaurs and lions are shedding blood into the ground like crazy, and dozens of tiny red gnome hats populate the grass. Yup—sounds like your typical paranormal lawn ornament battle to us.
    • Mrs. W. runs over something and they all get out of the car to see what it was. It was a cat. Haley starts petting it and talking about how cute it is—until the cat turns into a miniature fire-breathing dragon. James strikes again.
    • Stunned by the tiny dragon incident, Tia and Haley look to Mrs. W. for direction. She sends them inside to get Sam, while she deals with the remaining carnage on the lawn.
  • Chapter 29

    Ballroom Blitz

    • Back in the dungeon, Douglas attempts to continue his spell, confident that he has total control over Sam. He draws symbols on Sam's body with Sam's own blood and mumbles a lot. It quickly becomes clear that Sam has to do something fast—or die.
    • He starts by deciding to stop pretending he's still tied up and punch Douglas in the face, grabbing for his knife. Then he stabs Douglas in the back, twists the knife, and kills him. Douglas totally just got served.
    • While Sam's stabbing Douglas to death, he notices that across the room, Bridin has killed Michael and is obviously filled with conflicting emotion; dude might be a certifiable jerk, but he was still once a member of her pack.
    • At this climactic moment, having defeated Douglas and experienced the full extent of his necromancing powers, all Sam can do is scream. Bridin notices this and gently tells him to send the dead back to the grave. He does, and feels the overwhelming sense of his power die down.
  • Chapter 30

    Back in Black

    • Sam wakes up in a bed at what he later finds out is the werewolves' private clinic. Sean is looking after him and makes a remark about knowing Sam and Bridin had sex. Um, awkward.
    • Sean asks Sam if the wolves can get him anything, and Sam suddenly remembers the promise he made to Ashley and orders waffles. He then conjures up Ashley's spirit so she can enjoy them.
    • Now that Sam's officially survived the Douglas ordeal, there are a few surprises waiting for them. And they're pretty shocking. Here we go.
    • Surprise Number One: A lawyer shows up and tells Sam that because he killed Douglas, he is entitled to Douglas's entire estate. Sam isn't exactly thrilled about owning the house he spent several days of captivity in, but whatever.
    • Things get worse when the lawyer tells him that Douglas was in possession of something called a pukis—a personal, shape-shifting minion, a.k.a. James. There was no body after Sam killed Douglas, and the general speculation is that James took it and hid it in the house.
    • Surprise Number Two: Ashley informs him that he's entitled to protection from the spirit world and that she has decided to be one of his guides. So it looks like Sam hasn't seen the last of his waffle-loving zombie friend.
    • Surprise Number Three: Bridin informs him that Ramon had a little accident during the battle in Douglas's laboratory. Specifically, he fell on one of the glass vials containing blood specimens for Douglas's sicko experiments and got doused in bear blood.
    • Ramon is in protective care, as his body is fighting the presence of bear blood. It's not looking good. It's so not looking good, actually, that Bridin calls him "family."
  • Chapter 31

    Live and Let Die

    • When Sam gets out of the Werewolf Hospital, his first order of business is to quit his job at Plumpy's, and his second is to free Frank from Plumpy's by hiring him as his personal assistant.
    • There's one other loose end he has to take care of, though: reuniting Brooke's head with her body. He and Frank go to the gravesite to begin the ritual Ashley's explained to him.
    • They get a surprise, though, when Detective Dunaway shows up. Sam decides there's no point in hiding anymore—it's his case, after all, and he deserves to know the truth, so he tells Frank to open up Brooke's bowling bag.
    • Detective Dunaway reacts about how you'd expect a law enforcement official to act when he sees a talking decapitated head. Still, he watches the ritual and the reunification of Brooke's head with the rest of her body.
    • Exhausted, Sam goes home, takes some of the drugs the wolf hospital gave him for sleep, and knocks himself out. When he wakes up, none other than Brooke's spirit is standing in his room.
    • She says that Ashley told her he could use another spirit guide, so she's volunteered. Now, Sam's best friends consist of a were-bear, two ghosts, and… well, Frank. Talk about a group of misfits, but Sam seems okay with that.
    • He begins to plan for the future. His apartment's too small for Frank and his spirit friends (and Ramon, when he gets out) to play video games, so he might as well use the big creepy house he inherited from Douglas. He decides to move in to prove that Douglas's evil can be transformed into something good.
  • Epilogue

    The Seattle Times: Wednesday, April 2

    • Officials at the Woodland Park Zoo have discovered that Ling Tsu is dead. While the zoo is apprehensive of the conflict this could cause with China, it will be possible to provide monetary reparations for the panda's death thanks to an "anonymous benefactor." We're pretty sure we know who that is.
    • The donation has enabled the zoo and the Chinese government to begin talks for creating a panda preserve in memory of Ling Tsu.