cover image The Wicked & the Dead

The Wicked & the Dead

Melissa Marr. MM Ink, $14.99 trade paper (278p) ISBN 978-0-9886102-7-9

Bestseller Marr (the Wicked Lovely series) gives urban fantasy and paranormal romance readers a treat with her entertaining Faery Bargains series launch. Powerful witch Geneviève Crowe works as a hired sword in New Orleans, and her latest clients enlist her to ensure that their deceased loved ones stay dead. The risk of the dead rising as draugr, zombie-like creatures who crave living flesh, is real, with Marr establishing complex lore around how they come to be and the stages of their sentience (some can live to maturity, if given the chance). Geneviève is good at what she does, but she’s often haunted by her actions: does her job make her a hero, a murderer, or something else entirely? That question comes to a head as what’s supposed to be a routine job goes wrong, and Geneviève is thrust into a web of intrigue and murder that puts herself, her friends, and her alluring fae business partner, Eli, at risk. Marr ensconces beloved genre tropes in refreshing worldbuilding, offering a sly, never self-serious take on faery bargains and the walking dead. The conclusion leaves many questions dangling but sets things up nicely for future installments. Readers will be hooked. (Self-published)