Zoe Norris is a successful guide book writer/editor who lost her job due to a dalliance with her boss. Unfortunately the boss turned out to be married, a fact he’d neglected to tell Zoe until his wife, also the town’s Chief of Police found out and became very unhappy. Conveniently made redundant and strongly encouraged to leave town for her safety, she heads back to her home city of New York. A job advert pinned up in a very odd old bookshop seemed tailor made for Zoe except that she keeps being told that she wouldn’t be suitable… Being human had never had a downside before.
This is the first book I’ve read by Mur Lafferty and I really enjoyed it. A travel guide for the non-human visitors and denizens of New York City was a brilliant premise and the author built up a great cast of characters centred around Zoe.
Each chapter is separated with an excerpt from the guide and they make great little informational snippets that helped flesh out the ‘world’ Zoe never knew existed before applying for the job. Often they relate to a place you’ve recently discovered in the story and it was a really nice touch.
Zoe herself is a really well written character, and I loved her a lot; her sense of humour is very appealing and matched well with my own. She also has a huge amount of determination and balls of steel to enter into a world where she is at the bottom of the food chain… literally. Her co-workers and new boss are brought to life (so to speak!) with equal care and attention and made this an extremely well rounded book.
The pace of the book was well measured; slow at the start while Zoe was still trying to come to terms with the massive change in her life and figuring out what her new direction would be. As she discovered this supernatural half to the city she never knew about, it started to pick up. As she got to grips with it and the story progressed, it sped up until it was running full tilt at the end. I was quite breathless!
The plot was equally as measured, and we discovered the new ‘world’ at the same time as Zoe and went through it all with her. From co-workers who would love to have her for dinner to weird and wonderful establishments catering to the weird and wonderful, it was a great read. What really made it good though, was the threat hanging over her that someone was out to get her and would stop at nothing to mess with her life. Who that was, was very well concealed, and I was kept guessing right to the end. The action scenes were entertaining, sometimes funny and it was a refreshing change to have a heroine who wasn’t suddenly a kick ass fighter with unimaginable power. She was however organised enough to keep working on the book as her new found life threatened to come crashing down around her!
In summary, this is a great book and highly recommended to fans of Urban Fantasy. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!