cover image Razorhurst


Justine Larbalestier. Soho Teen, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61695-544-1

In a place like Razorhurst—a slum of 1932 Sydney, where guns are outlawed and men kill with blades—it’s little surprise that Kelpie and Dymphna meet over the slit throat of a dead body. Though circumstance unites them, the girls couldn’t be more different: street urchin Kelpie stumbles upon Jimmy Palmer’s corpse while looking for food. Dymphna, though a teenager, looks and acts like an adult woman: she’s the top-earning prostitute in Glory Nelson’s criminal empire, and Jimmy is only the most recent of the dead lovers who have earned her the nickname “Angel of Death.” But both girls can see ghosts, and thanks to the cascading effects of Jimmy’s murder, both may die before the day ends. Larbalestier (Liar) packs plenty of danger into the single day this novel covers, but frequent interludes of backstory keep things from feeling rushed. The narrative also benefits from a colorful, well-rendered cast, human and ghost alike. While the writing style calls to mind fiction of an earlier era, this story’s interwoven intrigue and empathy make it feel timeless. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Mar.) [/em]