Tanzer’s charming, confident follow-up to Creatures of Will and Temper continues the conceit of drawing on famous literary source texts for character and plot material; here, The Great Gatsby crashes into the works of H.P. Lovecraft, with, of course, chaotic results. On Long Island in the 1920s, Ellie West does bootlegging by boat to help pay for her brother’s education. One night, she inadvertently gets into an altercation with another sailor that ends in her acquiring some odd new bottles of moonshine; those bottles end up at a party thrown by Delphine “Fin” Coulthead and her rich husband and friends. Fin is out of her element in the endless parties of the Roaring ’20s, a situation only made worse by the nightmarish paranormal effects of the tainted liquor. Fin and Ellie make an appealing team as they work to figure out what’s wrong and stop it, and the depiction of Long Island is a fine example of nuanced, lovely landscape writing. The portrayal of groups of normal people falling into mob violence and hatred of the other groups is genuinely unnerving, and Tanzer resists simplistic moral takes. Some elements of the plot are a touch predictable, but the overall effect is delightful. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2018 Release date: 11/13/2018 Genre: Fiction
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