cover image A Brush of Darkness

A Brush of Darkness

Allison Pang, Pocket, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9832-2

A cluttered cast and an unfocused plot almost bury the pleasantly original world-building in this uneven urban fantasy debut. In a riff from the old ballad "Thomas the Rhymer," the Faery court holds the balance between the forces of heaven and hell, and denizens of all three realms meet in the mortal world via human Touchstones such as hapless Abby Sinclair. Moira, the Faery Protectorate for whom Abby serves as Touchstone, has suddenly vanished, leaving Abby in charge of a supernatural store and at the mercy of a multitude of otherworldly characters. Brystion, a handsome incubus, invades Abby's dreams while investigating the disappearance of his succubus sister and drawing instant hostility from Moira's angelic second-in-command, Robert. The tone veers wildly from horror to erotica to hilarious parody, resulting in an uneasy, unpredictable story that never fulfills the substantial potential of the setup. (Feb.)