cover image Dark Currents

Dark Currents

Jacqueline Carey. Roc, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-451-46478-1

Acclaimed for epic fantasy (Kushiel’s Dart, etc.) and post-apocalyptic SF (Santa Oliva; Saints Astray), Carey turns to contemporary fantasy, showing off her talent for building engaging, detailed settings that feel utterly natural despite their inherent strangeness. Small town Pemkowet, Mich., is a popular tourist destination for humans. It’s also home to a thriving “eldritch community” of supernatural entities, thanks to the presence of the local underworld controlled by the Norse goddess Hel. Daisy Johanssen, a half-demon trying to dodge her innate attraction to the “Seven Deadlies” while functioning as Hel’s agent on Earth and the local link between the eldritch community and the human police, is called in to help investigate the drowning of a local college boy when signs of both foul play and magical residue are found on the body. The overall tone is light and gently humorous but still appropriate for a murder mystery, and Daisy comes off as confident and modern without excessive sass or defensiveness. Carey has set up a complex social ecosystem full of delightfully distinctive characters who warrant exploration in future volumes. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Oct.)