cover image Long Black Curl

Long Black Curl

Alex Bledsoe. Tor, $25.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7654-1

Bledsoe’s third tale (after Wisp of a Thing) of the Tufa—Appalachia-dwelling descendants of the Fae, all possessing great musical talent—sees two of their own returning, after a long exile, to fight for leadership of the community. Bo-Kate Wisby feels slighted by the Tufa and wants revenge. She starts by eliminating Rockhouse Hicks, a longtime leader recently fallen on hard times. As the two factions of the Tufa react to this power vacuum, they recall Bo-Kate’s former lover, Jefferson Powell, the only one who understands her weaknesses. Meanwhile, Bo-Kate has recruited a legendary musician, thought dead for decades, to help her achieve her bloody goals. The core concept is solid and fascinating; the execution strikes just the right tone between fantastic and tragic. Bledsoe plays with lyrics and atmosphere, incorporates folklore and superstition to good effect, and even toys with alternate history for further resonance. The slow-building plot works well with the extended cast of characters, but the climax and conclusion feel rushed. Agent: Marlene Stringer, Stringer Literary Agency. (May)