cover image Stiletto


Daniel O’Malley. Little, Brown, $26 (592p) ISBN 978-0-316-22804-6

The promise of O’Malley’s supernatural thriller The Rook isn’t fulfilled in this lackluster sequel. The people of Britain are guarded by the Checquy Group, “the secret Government department that employed the supernatural to protect the populace from the supernatural.” Checquy operatives had been taught that a rival group, the Grafters, who were able to “twist and warp living flesh to suit their purposes,” had been exterminated; but, as the current book opens, the Checquy lower ranks receive double shocks: not only do the Grafters still exist, but they are to be integrated into the Checquy Group itself. The task of making the improbable alliance work falls to Myfanwy Thomas, a high-ranking Checquy who’s uniquely able to completely control others’ bodies. There are bizarre acts of violence—for example, a birthday cake consumes an entire family—but they don’t create a sense of menace. The highlights come from O’Malley’s dry humor, but readers unamused by lines such as “No situation is improved by the presence of a gigantic anus” will find this a rough slog. Agent: Mollie Glick, Creative Artists Agency. (June)