Queens of Noise

Leigh Harlen. Neon Hemlock, $12.99 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-952086-01-4
Harlen’s rollicking if unpolished debut novella follows a punk band turned werecoyote pack as they race to save a local music venue from demolition. The Mangy Rats, led by vocalist Mixi, team up with a rival band to discover the identity of the club’s mysterious buyer, and their investigation leads them down a rabbit hole of witchcraft and conspiracy. As they face off against the buyers, the occult, and cursed attack chickens, the rival band leaders find unexpected romance. The descriptions of the werecoyote’s shape-shifting are well-conceived, and the richly detailed world reveals Harlen’s familiarity with the punk scene, but the discussions of gentrification are often too on the nose. There are some truly beautiful passages, but they alternate with stretches of exposition, and the setup to the final conflict is rushed. However, readers will appreciate the sensitive, nuanced treatment of the LGBTQ pack members and the moments of humor. Anarchic, bighearted, and fun, this scruffy tale will appeal to fans of urban fantasy and queer paranormal romance willing to look past some rough edges. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/21/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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