cover image The Spectral City

The Spectral City

Leanna Renee Hieber. Kensington, , $3.99 ISBN 978-1-63573-058-6

In this middling historical fantasy set in 1899 New York City, a young socialite seeks to solve crimes with the aid of ghostly informants and fellow mediums as part of the newly designated Ghost Precinct. Unfortunately, not only does Eve Whitby have to deal with skeptics, she must contend with institutionalized sexism from those who still believe women don’t belong in law enforcement. But she and her team prove their worth by solving one cold case at a time—covering everything from theft to murder. When one of her most reliable ghosts vanishes, Eve desperately tries to find her, even as Ghost Precinct takes on cases involving a missing girl and stolen religious artifacts. Luckily, Eve’s new ace in the hole is the charming Detective Horowitz, with whom she shares a delightful chemistry. For this series opener, Hieber (The Eterna Solution) draws in characters and themes from previous adventures set in the same paranormal gaslamp world, giving it a lived-in sensation that nevertheless may leave new readers wondering if they missed something. The personable cast, snappy prose, and intriguing premise are somewhat undermined by a nebulous ending that points directly at the next installment. Agent: Paul Stevens, Donald Maass Literary. (Dec.)