cover image The Insides

The Insides

Jeremy P. Bushnell. Melville House (PRH, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61219-546-9

Bushnell’s (The Weirdness) excellent second novel begins with Olive “Ollie” Krueger making the kind of throwaway decision we all do at times: she talks to a stranger in a park. However, this stranger is a warlock who wants Ollie and her friend Victor to become a part of a network of magic users hiding in plain sight. But this book is not about magic. It is about people coming to terms with their histories. Chapters alternate from the now adult Ollie, working as a butcher at a high-end Manhattan restaurant prophetically named Carnage, and Maja, a woman gifted with the ability to “locate” objects and people. Ollie is struggling with broken relationships and a child she left behind. Maja is haunted, literally, by her younger brother Eivind. Maja becomes a locator for hire; her clients are a group of white supremacists wanting to find a great magic object to usher in an era that only Hitler could imagine. Bushnell also includes other dimensions, and an ex-Marine named Pig to round out this off-the-wall tale. The alternating protagonists translates into a very fast read, as does Bushnell’s hyper-realistic prose, which effectively captures his cast of characters. (June)