cover image Dead Set

Dead Set

Richard Kadrey. Harper Voyager, $22.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-228301-6

Sixteen-year-old Zoe, grieving the death of her father, is miserable in a new home and a new school as her mother struggles to make ends meet. Zoe’s father taught her to be a fan of classic punk bands, and the music is her one connection to him and to her fellow students. Then Ammut, a mysterious record store owner, promises he can reunite Zoe with her father’s spirit. Soon Zoe finds herself in Iphigene, a city full of souls trapped on their way to the afterlife, as she’s guided by the ghost of her dead brother on a quest to free her father’s soul and return to the world of the living. Aiming for a mythic story about grief and loss, Kadrey (the Sandman Slim series) hits some extremely familiar beats, but he does it with an easy grace. Nothing about this book is unexpected or surprising, but perhaps it doesn’t need to be. This bittersweet and elegiac fantasy will appeal to both fantasy fans and mainstream readers. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Nov.)