My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Cats like to hunt and kill things. Sometimes they’ll leave birds, more often roaches or lizards. I’ve heard stories of other people’s cats who brought in rabbits, and once, even a bat. This got me thinking: What would be the worst thing a cat could kill and leave on your doorstep? Well, obviously, a person.
So my story starts out with Susan, the protagonist from ALTERNATE SUSAN finding a small, dead person in her garden. I won’t tell you how he died, but I will tell you that Susan’s investigation into his death is what leads her into trouble.
I had Susan spend time with some very foreign people who live quite close to her, which was a lot of fun to create. (I love hidden worlds) I used bits and pieces of several different cultures to create something that felt exotic, yet also integrated with the low-desert suburban landscape.
But Susan isn’t the only main character in this. We also have Paul, the man pulled out of time. Culture sometimes varies more from decade to decade than it does from country to country, and Paul let me play with the changes in attitude from last century to this one. Paul also has to deal with being a double minority (a human male in a society of mostly female mostly owls) and with conflicting loyalties.
And then there’s Griff. Griff, like many young men, is under-employed, and dealing with the twin pulls of family obligations and a desire for independence. His chance to make a little money comes when he meets someone who can make magic wands. Thing is, these magic wands really work.
I also added shape-shifting owls, communities of small cat-hating linguists living in cinder block walls, hedgehog-like garden fey, and a kit fox (who happens to be Paul’s best friend.)
But I won’t get too much into it. You should read it for yourself. It’s fantasy that eschews familiar tropes. It’s urban fantasy minus the vampires, werewolves, fallen angels, Irish faeries, and everything else you’ve seen a lot of recently. You don’t have to have read ALTERNATE SUSAN for this book to make sense. It’s set in the same world, with some of the same characters, but the story begins and ends with this novel. Enjoy.
Want to buy the book? Here’s a handy link. Available in Kindle and most other ebook formats, as well as paperback. The paperback has a slightly different (more elaborate) cover.