cover image Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon

Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon

Wole Talabi. DAW, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1826-7

This frenetic fantasy debut from Nigerian author Talabi starts out noir, with a car chase across the “spirit-side” of London while antihero Shigidi bleeds out in the back seat of a cab. Then the shenanigans really ramp up, flashing back to how Shigidi wound up there. The ensuing romp is a heist caper with sex, violence, and superpowers popping off every Technicolor page. Shigidi, former Nigerian nightmare deity, slips the daily grind of the Orisha Spirit Company for the persuasive tutelage of freelance succubus Nneoma, who’s training him to become a succubus himself. But freedom has its price, and when the big god Olorun calls in a favor, Shigidi and Nneoma have mere hours to lift an ancient Nigerian talisman from the British Museum and escape the retributive justice of the Royal British Spirit Bureau. Readers of Neil Gaiman and Harry Turtledove will have encountered similar takes on the spirit realm; Talabi’s freshness is in his language, his caustically amusing protagonist (Shigidi describes a supernatural effusion as “light gushing out... like a vandalized pipeline”), and his commitment to having more fun than noir usually allows. Readers are in for a rollicking thrill ride. Agent: Van Aggelen, African Literary Agency. (Aug.)