cover image Lead Me Astray

Lead Me Astray

Sondi Warner. Wattpad, $17.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-77729-006-1

Warner (Deserving) launches her Overlay City series with a frenetic polyamorous paranormal romance wrapped inside a thriller set in a supernatural nexus existing in the same space as New Orleans. After college student Aurie Edison is drugged at a party she uncharacteristically crashed, she’s killed by a hit-and-run driver and is left to wander the city as a ghost. Mys, an empath and genderqueer futanari—a supernatural being with hermaphroditic genitals—invites Aurie to their home while she figures out what unfinished business ties her to the world. Werewolf detective Zyr looks into Aurie’s case and discovers an opportunity to finally prosecute powerful vampire Darcy Cyprian, the host of the party where Aurie was drugged. As Aurie, Mys, and Zyr work together, a powerful current of desire runs among all three. Warner treads somewhat awkwardly around Mys’s worry about being rejected for their body while keeping the story queer-positive. There’s more energy put toward the supernaturals interacting with the mundane world than exploring Overlay City itself, and readers will hope for more texture in future installments. Still, though the intercreature politics hew close to genre tropes, there’s ample space for additional stories, and Warner proves her ability to populate them appealingly. This promises good things to come. [em](Mar.) [/em]