cover image Thirteen Ways to Kill Lulabelle Rock

Thirteen Ways to Kill Lulabelle Rock

Maud Woolf. Angry Robot, $18.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-915202-90-1

Woolf debuts with a dazzling noirish romp through a near future world in which the rich and powerful can have themselves cloned into perfect copies called Portraits, which are capable of fulfilling myriad functions, but are treated as subhuman. Actor Lulabelle Rock, desperate for good publicity ahead of her next film, which is projected by the media to be a flop, commissions her 13th Portrait and tasks her with murdering her extant predecessors, the 12 previous Portraits, in the manner of a serial killer to drum up press coverage. Armed with a self-driving car, a dossier on each target, and a gun, the Portrait, who calls herself Death after the Tarot card, embarks on her grim mission across the streets of Bubble City, a satirical take on Hollywood. Each killing proves harder than the last, as Death faces doppelgängers who each embody different aspects of Lulabelle’s personality—party girl, fashion model, homemaker, would-be artist—and comes to question her own identity and purpose. Worse, she even begins to sympathize with her targets. Woolf sucks readers in from the start and mines her clever premise for suspense and surprises. By turns sad, introspective, and defiantly optimistic, this tale of self-hatred, self-love, and self-discovery delights. Agent: Lina Langlee, North Lit Agency. (Jan.)