cover image Stone Mad

Stone Mad

Elizabeth Bear., $3.99 e-book (168p) ISBN 978-1-250-16382-0

Bear’s Karen Memory (2015) introduced her stubborn and spunky heroine, Karen Memery, a teenage sex worker who saved her late-1870s Pacific Northwest town from threats foreign and domestic. Now Karen and her beloved, Priya, are preparing to enjoy their first night in their new home when traveling spiritualists dredge up an old, seemingly supernatural mystery poised to cause mayhem. Naturally, Karen wants to investigate. Though this novel lacks the scope and some of the sheer raucousness of the first, all of the characteristics that make Karen memorable are glowingly apparent on every page. Elements that would feel clunky from a less talented author—such as Karen’s habit of constantly flinging herself headlong into danger because of deep regrets about her past—all seem natural and inevitable by the finish. Subtle touches guarantee that every character is colorful, no matter how fleetingly introduced. Bear’s fans will definitely want to catch Karen’s latest adventure. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary. (Mar.)