King of the Dead is the second in Joseph Nassise's Jeremiah Hunt Chronicle series, combining urban fantasy with a heavy dose of horror. In the first book, Eyes to See, Jeremiah Hunt went to desperate lengths to find his daughter after she was kidnapped, even going so far as to perform a magical ritual that robbed him of his normal sight but left him able to see into the spirit world and gave him a few ghastly new powers of his own.
While Eyes to See didn't exactly have a happy ending, it did provide closure on his daughter's fate and also brought Hunt into contact with a couple new allies--Dmitri, a berserker who can transform into a polar bear, and Denise Clearwater, a witch possessing her own significant power and a penchant for visions.
Unfortunately, Hunt also got mistakenly tagged as the serial killer known as The Reaper, and put on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Oops.
King of the Dead is kicked off with one of Denise's visions, where she's convinced that her patron, Gaia, is compelling her to visit New Orleans to handle some sort of magical muck that is being stirred up there. Despite trying to maintain a low profile, Hunt and Dmitri join her, and quickly discover that the magical practitioners in New Orleans have been stricken by some sort of disease with a 100% mortality rate.
In trying to solve this deadly mystery, Hunt and his friends come up against more than a few magical killers, and wind up having to contend with the FBI agent determined to bring Hunt to justice as well. Kind of hard to deal with ghosts when a guy has a gun to your head.
King of the Dead has plenty of strengths. Gritty and violent magic, nasty supernatural creatures to contend with, strong-willed characters that don't get along too well with Hunt's own less-than-charming personality...
If anything leaves readers wanting, it would be the motivation of the main antagonist, the one responsible for mages and witches dropping dead left and right. It's never really explained to any satisfying degree. The person/creature in question is simply doing their evil nasty thing for evil nasty reasons and our heroes have to fight back before they become the next victims.
Some readers might also tire a bit of Hunt's abrasive nature and occasionally selfish decisions--but you got to give a guy some slack when he keeps getting mistaken for a mass murderer while he's just trying to save countless lives.
As a whole, King of the Dead is an entertaining extension to the series, and doesn't have any major missteps that would turn readers off from looking forward to the next perilous episode in Hunt's journey. The ending isn't quite a cliffhanger, but it's close, promising ongoing danger while also leaving one major character's fate in question until next time.