cover image Lowball


Edited by George R.R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass. Tor, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3195-3

Meaty themes of prejudice and genocide resonate beneath furiously paced noir fantasies in the latest Wild Cards shared universe anthology. Eight standalone stories collectively explore the continuing struggle of superpowered Aces and Jokers to live harmoniously with ordinary humans. When Jokers are abducted from what used to be a safe haven, Francis Xavier Black and bitter senior partner Michael Stevens search a amorphous urban nightmare setting for possible perps. Joker Jamal Norwood is on a new security detail that involves him in a series of brutal deaths. He collaborates with the voyeuristic but charismatic Eddie Carmichael, a cartoonist whose creations live and breathe. The pulpy adventures combine science and superstition against a brutal and cynical backdrop. The squalid, unfriendly streets and cold morgues are themselves characters, evoking a sense of grim vitality. This feast of mystery and metamorphosis is best suited to readers already familiar with the series. [em](Nov.) [/em]