cover image Trouble the Saints

Trouble the Saints

Alaya Dawn Johnson. Tor, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-17534-2

This sumptuous fantasy from Johnson (Love is the Drug) splits focus between three uncannily gifted characters as they struggle against their fates and the pervasive racism of America on the cusp of WWII. Phyllis LeBlank is mixed-race but passes for white to mingle with New York City’s mobsters, using her supernatural knife throwing skills to kill people her boss assures her are worthy of death. But when Phyllis reunites with her ex-boyfriend, half-Indian police informant Dev Patil, she questions her line of work. Dev, who can foretell threats against anyone he touches, and Phyllis flee the mob to Dev’s childhood home upstate. There, the couple become enmeshed in the disagreement between a white family and an erratic young black man with powers of his own. As racial tensions explode into violence, Phyllis discovers she’s pregnant and Dev gets drafted into war. Phyllis’s best friend, clairvoyant Tamara, helps Phyllis through her difficult pregnancy with a fetus capable of sending visions of the future. But Tamara’s own visions lead her to a challenging choice. With a sweeping but overstuffed plot, dynamic characters, and style to spare, this alternate history demands the reader’s full attention. Fans of challenging, diverse fantasy will enjoy this literary firecracker. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary. (June)