cover image Shadows in the Starlight

Shadows in the Starlight

Elaine Cunningham, . . Tor, $23.95 (286pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0971-6

PI Gwen Gellman, the tough-girl heroine of Cunningham's fast-paced second changeling detective novel (after 2004's Shadows in the Darkness ), is starting to accept she's not human. While Gwen is curious to explore her recently discovered elf heritage, she's far too busy trying to prove her mentor was murdered, looking for the missing wife and child of her lesbian attorney friend's abusive ex-husband, tracking down a pimp who enslaves Russian girls, dealing with an addictive aphrodisiacal but not yet illicit herbal drug, uncovering and avoiding lethal corruption in the Providence, R.I., police force and much, much more. Meanwhile, elvish politics that closely resemble those of the Mafia crossed with rigorous eugenics pose a potential threat. The fate of all elfdom and the human race the elves despise may somehow depend on Gwen. With its winning rainbow coalition of characters, this fantasy-crime hybrid is almost too much of a good thing for readers who haven't read the first volume and still await the third. (Feb.)