cover image Titanshade


Dan Stout. DAW, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1486-3

Debut author Stout combines a pitch-perfect noir tone and a richly detailed world full of human, amphibian, and less-identifiable characters in this instantly gripping fantastical mystery. Carter is a smart cop with a troubled past, working in Titanshade, a garish metropolis in need of a miracle. The city’s oil wells are running dry, and its only hope of survival lies in an investment from the rich amphibian Squibs. So when a Squib diplomat is found mutilated in a Titanshade hotel room, Carter and his new partner, Ajax, know this investigation is going to be trouble. As the case moves from the heart of the city to the bleak Borderlands and into the heights of Titanshade’s wealthiest families, Carter uncovers a sickening conspiracy between a mad scientist and a power-hungry oil baron that will change him and his city forever. Stout handles this complex mystery with ease, invoking the best elements of classic noir mysteries, while fearlessly making this world, with its retro style and multilayered mythology, all his own. This emotionally nuanced and highly entertaining caper will leave readers eager for sequels. (Mar.)