cover image Hungry Ghosts

Hungry Ghosts

Stephen Blackmoore. DAW, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0941-8

Blackmoore’s third urban fantasy featuring Los Angeles-based necromancer Eric Carter (after Broken Souls) is freewheeling and laced with smart-alecky banter. As a consequence of his strategic marriage to Santa Muerte, Queen of Mictlan (the Aztec land of the dead), Carter is slowly petrifying into a jade statue, a fate shared by her other husband, Mictlantecuhtli. Carter knows that the only way to save his skin is to kill both of them. This leads to a concatenation of escapades that includes dalliances with the avatars of both the king and queen, a bargain with an incarnation of Quetzalcoatl, and a journey to Mictlan, where reanimated corpses and the titular ghosts run rampant. The novel’s plot is loose and dependent on info dumps of Aztec and Mayan folklore, but Blackmoore keeps the action brisk and the mood light, sprinkling his text with breezy witticisms (“Mages are just academics who found something practical to do with a philosophy degree”). Fans of the series will devour this installment in anticipation of Carter’s next adventure. (Feb.)