cover image Maeve Fly

Maeve Fly

CJ Leede. Nightfire, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-85785-9

Leede’s bloody debut sends its nihilistic heroine down a twisted path in the footsteps of her literary idol, Patrick Bateman. Maeve Fly leads a split-life between her day job as a princess at a cheekily unnamed mouse-centric amusement park in Anaheim and the dive bars of the Sunset Strip, alternately fixated on her coworker Kate; her Hollywood starlet grandmother, Tallulah; and her own place in the midst of celebrity. When she meets Kate’s enigmatic hockey star brother, Gideon, the pair enter an increasingly twisted relationship and Maeve turns to murder, mutilation, and nocturnal perversions with no motive other than entertainment. (“Men,” Maeve muses, “have always been permitted in fiction and in life to simply be what they are, no matter how dark or terrifying that might be. But with a woman, we expect an answer, a reason.”) Leede does an excellent job of anchoring the story’s more chaotic excesses in Maeve’s narration, which offers equal parts trenchant insight and pitch-black humor. Though the plot occasionally loses focus, it quickly finds its footing again as Maeve’s deteriorating mental state drives things toward a satisfyingly visceral conclusion. The result is a gore-soaked love letter to Los Angeles that fans of American Psycho and Samantha Kolesnik’s True Crime won’t want to miss. (June)