cover image Winter’s Gifts

Winter’s Gifts

Ben Aaronovitch. Subterranean, $45 (232p) ISBN 978-1-64524-185-0

Aaronovitch takes his signature blend of humor and horror across the pond in his gripping 10th Rivers of London urban fantasy (after 2022’s Amongst Our Weapons). This time, the setting is Wisconsin, and the lead is FBI agent Kimberley Reynolds, who combines a frank acceptance of the reality of the supernatural with a quaint aversion to foul language. When D.C. headquarters receives a cryptic message from former agent Patrick Henderson about a situation with “unusual characteristics” (“the Bureau’s euphemism for the weird, the supernatural and the genuine occult”) in small-town Eloise, Wis., Reynolds is on the case. Upon her arrival, she finds that Henderson is missing—possibly abducted by something with antlers—and that his vanishing coincided with a rare “snow tornado” that targeted his home and devastated the town. As she investigates, Reynolds learns that, prior to his calling the FBI, Henderson had been researching a tragic 19th-century expedition heading north of Lake Superior rumored to have been led to their doom by a wolf spirit. Aaronovitch creates suspense with the question of which locals, if any, his heroine can trust, and the truth is all-the-more satisfying for being revealed only gradually. This supernaturally tinged mystery keeps readers on their toes. (Dec.)