cover image Highfire


Eoin Colfer. Harper Perennial, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-293855-8

In his return to adult fiction, Colfer (the Artemis Fowl YA series) spins a twisty, tongue-in-cheek fantasy that’s part thriller, part action movie, and wholly irreverent. Vern is an ancient dragon, possibly the last of his species. He’s content to drink away his days, wallowing in self-pity and loneliness, yearning for his old life as Lord Highfire. But his quiet, drunken existence in the Louisiana bayou is upended when he hires 15-year-old Everett “Squib” Moreau as his new assistant. Squib’s tasks mainly consist of delivering Vern’s vodka and internet purchases, and as the two develop a friendship, Regence Hooke, a crooked cop with big plans, sets his sights on them, hoping to use Vern’s firepower and muscle to expand his criminal influence. But Vern hasn’t survived this long without picking up a few dirty tricks of his own. Colfer’s catchy narrative voice suits the characters and their setting perfectly, capturing Vern’s world-weary nature, Squib’s youthful adaptability, and Hooke’s malicious cunning. This no-holds-barred yarn is good fun from start to finish. Agent: Sophie Hicks, Sophie Hicks Agency. (Feb.)