cover image Skinner Luce

Skinner Luce

Patricia Ward. Skyhorse/Talos, $24.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-940456-35-5

Lucy Hennessey grew up thinking she was a normal human being. She learned the hard way that she is a serv, created by the Nafikh, an alien race, to serve them in any capacity whenever they visit Earth. If she lives long enough to meet her service quota, she can be freed; having experienced a normal life, she now sometimes dares to dream what she might do with that freedom. But everything begins to fall apart, and her grim serv world crashes against that of her human family’s when she is linked to the death of a child serv and encounters a tenacious human wielding an uncanny knowledge of the Nafikh (who are otherwise a well-kept secret). Running away is useless, and it seems that the only way for Lucy to save herself and her family is to plunge deeper into the Nafikh’s world. Ward (The Bullet Collection) delivers a gut-punching novel, consistently taut and bleak. Readers will feel Lucy hanging on by her fingernails just beneath the human world and bloodied by every hard climb upward as she tries straddling two lives while fitting into neither. Agent: Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Jan.)