cover image The Witchstone

The Witchstone

Henry H. Neff. Blackstone, $26.99 (552p) ISBN 979-8-212-01554-7

YA fantasy novelist Neff (the Tapestry series) makes his adult debut with this incandescently funny glimpse of hell on Earth, starring Paul Newman look-alike and 800-year-old demon Laszlo. A Class III Curse Keeper, Laszlo’s responsible for the torment of 19-year-old human Maggie Drakeford, a plucky Catskills Curse Bearer. Maggie’s family has largely adjusted to the centuries-old curse hanging over their heads that dooms each member to transform into a horrible monster by 20. Indeed, lounge lizard Laszlo’s so ineffective at inflicting despair that his new boss gives him six days to shape up or be liquefied back into the primordial ooze from whence all demons crawl. Laszlo’s next move? To reveal himself to Maggie and offer to help her break the curse. To do so, they must free a mighty spirit locked in the legendary Witchstone. Maggie’s eager to avert her fate, but Laszlo has his own agenda, which involves both his job and his relationship with his fiendish father, Lord Baal, who is Lucifer’s top rival. Maggie and Laszlo quest across Europe and back to the Catskills amid both belly laughs and heart-tugging moments as Laszlo, aided by an Italian priest, gradually becomes more human and Maggie takes on magical energies to protect her family. The result is a glorious romp that’s clever enough to keep readers infernally entertained. (June)