cover image Half-Off Ragnarok

Half-Off Ragnarok

Seanan McGuire. DAW, $7.99 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0811-4

McGuire's exciting third Incryptid installment (after Midnight Blue-Light Special) opens with a new protagonist, cryptozoologist Alexander Price, currently studying Ohio swamp wildlife while posing as a visiting researcher for the West Columbus Zoo. His hunt for feathered frogs called "frickens" is disrupted by several petrification-based murders in his vicinity, suggesting that a stray basilisk, misplaced cockatrice, or rogue gorgon is to blame. With the aid of his feisty Australian girlfriend, Shelby, a tiger trainer with secrets of her own, Alex must delve into the affairs of the reclusive, repulsive, and downright disturbing, while trying not to end up stoned in the worst way possible. McGuire creates a sense of wonder and playfulness with her love for mythology and folklore, weaving together numerous manifestations of a single theme. Her enthusiastic and fast-paced style makes this an entertaining page-turner, marred only by a tendency to emphasize whimsy and quirkiness over character depth. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (Mar.)