And the Creek Don’t Rise

R.M. Gilmore. Mac Gille Mhur, $24.95 (372p) ISBN 978-1-73586-351-1

Seamlessly blending horror, fantasy, and Southern small-town life, Gilmore (17 Marigold Lane) crafts a hauntingly beautiful world. Lynnie Russell is turning 20 and hopes to finally leave Havana, Ark., where she lives with her brother, Garrett. Her days are spent working at the gas station, her nights drinking at Maldoon’s bar with Garrett; her best friend, Hattie; and Garrett’s best friend (and Lynnie’s nemesis), Rusty Kemp. But Lynnie’s birthday celebration takes a dark turn, throwing a wrench in her plans. After a revelatory conversation with Rusty, Lynnie wakes up covered in blood, finding Rusty dead and herself somehow changed: she’s capable of spouting claws, fur, and fangs. Thrust into a supernatural world drawn from Irish folklore and urban fantasy tropes, Lynnie must reconcile her new form with the desire to keep her family safe. Her coming-of-age is kicked into high gear by her transformation, forcing her to find balance between who she thought she was and who she’s becoming. While Lynnie’s story can get fairly dark, Gilmore tempers the horror elements with dry wit, tongue-in-cheek humor, and a small but memorable supporting cast. This is sure to capture readers’ hearts and imaginations. (Self-published)