Spelunking Through Hell: A Visitor’s Guide to the Underworld

Seanan McGuire. DAW, $17 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1183-1

McGuire switches focus to a new member of the Price-Healy clan of cryptozoologists for her fun 11th InCryptid fantasy (after Calculated Risks). After several fleeting appearances in previous entries, Alice Price-Healy, the grandmother to the modern generation, whose 50-year hunt through alternate dimensions for her long-missing husband, Thomas, has become both legend and cautionary tale, takes center stage. With the malicious, bargain-granting crossroads destroyed, Alice discovers a new lead to Thomas’s whereabouts, one which takes her further from her home dimension than ever before—and no matter what she finds upon arrival, it may prove to be a one-way trip. Luckily, she’s got no shortage of tricks—and weapons—up her sleeves. While this adventure veers noticeably from the urban fantasy of earlier volumes, taking place primarily in strange realms with almost no humans in sight, it still bears all the hallmarks of the InCryptid series: a clever protagonist, snarky banter, unusual creatures, and an entertaining blend of action, romance, and horror (the secret behind Alice’s enduring youth and vitality is especially unsettling). At heart a love story, this entry delivers both a satisfying payoff for fans of the series and an intriguing expansion of its universe. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (Mar.)
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