A Plunder of Souls

D.B. Jackson. Tor, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3818-1

This engaging third entry in Jackson’s Thieftaker series (following 2013’s Thieves’ Quarry) ably mashes up the historical with the fantastic. Ethan Kaille, conjurer and private investigator, navigates 1769 Boston, which suffers from smallpox and British occupation. Hired by suspicious Church authorities, he hunts grave robbers who leave behind grisly messages that seemed aimed at him. Worse, the uneasy spirits of the disturbed dead haunt their old homes. When Kaille’s magic starts to fail, he is forced to unite all of Boston’s spellcasters—including his rival, the dangerous and beautiful Sephira Pryce—to face a threat that menaces both the living and the dead. Jackson (pseudonym of David B. Coe, the Blood of the Southlands trilogy) foregrounds the mystery, but still mixes in some politics as Kaille faces British-baiting, stone-tossing adolescents, and ducks the misplaced gratitude of the Sons of Liberty. The fiery climax recalls other urban fantasies, but Kaille and his city remain their own creations. Jackson is an increasingly reliable tour guide to America’s colonial past. (July)