cover image The Wild Dead

The Wild Dead

Carrie Vaughn. HMH/Adams, $14.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-544-94731-3

This mostly standalone sequel to Bannerless, set a century after the collapse of modern civilization, further explores the intricacies of a world dedicated to sustainable resource management and rigid population control, with an emphasis placed on cooperative households and earning the right to bear children. A routine property dispute in a small community turns into a murder mystery after a young woman’s corpse is discovered. Investigator Enid and her inexperienced partner, Teeg, quickly establish that the murder victim was not part of an established household, but was one of the unregulated “wild folk” who live outside of society. Enid sets out to learn the woman’s identity and find out who killed her and why. Her quest for the truth stirs up uncomfortable memories among community members before leading her into the treacherous wilds. Enid is a capable, honest, relentless seeker of answers, and her investigation is reminiscent of classic hardboiled mysteries. Despite an almost palpable air of claustrophobic foreboding, this tale still manages to convey a sense of hope and optimism. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Co. (July)