cover image Dead Man in a Ditch

Dead Man in a Ditch

Luke Arnold. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-356-51292-1

Arnold expands on the vividly imagined world of The Last Smile in Sunder City in the superb second urban fantasy to feature “man-for-hire” Fetch Phillips. Six years ago, a cataclysmic event called the Coda eliminated all magic from Sunder City. Following the events of the previous installment, Fetch, a human, has earned a reputation for working to prove that magic still exists, and many formerly supernatural creatures now try to hire him for this express purpose. When Lance Niles, an affluent newcomer to the city who had been buying up properties for an unknown purpose, is found dead in a humans-only club—looking like a “bomb went off in the back of his throat”—the police call Fetch in to assist, as the cause of death appears to have been magic. Fetch takes the case, hoping to quell the rumors about his magical conspiracy theories by finding a scientific explanation for Lance’s murder—and is promised a hefty reward should he succeed. With a lead who would be at home in the pages of a Raymond Chandler or James Ellory novel and a nicely twisty plot, this installment makes a strong case for Arnold’s series to enjoy a long run. (Sept.)