cover image The October Man

The October Man

Ben Aaronovitch. Subterranean, $40 (216p) ISBN 978-1-59606-908-4

In this enjoyable spin-off from the Rivers of London urban fantasy series, Aaronovitch successfully transfers his blend of the supernatural and humor from England to the Continent as he introduces Tobias Winter, a German police officer who practices magic. Winter is teamed with Vanessa Sommer, an expert in wine-related crime, after his boss learns of a “suspicious death with unusual biological characteristics” in Trier. The body of an unidentified man had been found in a culvert, covered in what appeared to be gray fur but was actually a fungal infection that had suffocated him. Sommer is able to identify the fatal fungus as noble rot, used to intentionally infect wine grapes by some vintners, including Jacqueline Stracker, whose vineyard is located on a slope above where the corpse was discovered. Winter and Sommer’s interview of Stracker leads to suspicions that Kelly, goddess of the River Kyll, is somehow involved. Supernatural mystery fans who enjoy more whimsical takes on the paranormal will hope for more of Winter and Sommer. Agent: John Berlyne, Zeno Agency. (June)