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by Cat Adams

Pub Date: March 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2873-1
Publisher: Tor

Another outing for fearless, supernaturally powered professional bodyguard Celia Graves (Demon Song, 2011, etc.).

Warned by one of her most reliably psychic pals of an imminent magical incident at a local school, Celia bullies the administration into evacuating the building—not quite soon enough. A magical device explodes in the basement, and Celia gets bitten by a child as she helps get the kids out. But the school's still standing, there's no real damage—so what actually happened? Celia finds she can't remember, while her intuitive FBI contact Dom Rizzoli is baffled. As time passes, Celia's unable to work because of persistent splitting headaches, and the bite turns out to have infected her with a strange magical ailment which, as kids too start to fall sick, turns out to be the first manifestations of a zombie plague. Worse for Celia, her viciously alcoholic mother has absconded from detox on Sirens’ island and is bent on making trouble. One of Celia's boyfriends, the mage Bruno DeLuca, helps with investigating the bombing (it emerges that it was just one of many) while the other boyfriend, the mage John Creede, tries to discover exactly what's ailing her—until he mysteriously disappears. Here, the furiously complicated backdrop—think L.A. noir with magic, supernatural beings, psychic powers, ghosts, warrior priests and modern technology—would benefit from a sense that any of it is grounded in ordinary reality; as has been remarked in another context, "when everybody's special, nobody is." Celia herself doesn't even take center stage, being injured and forgetful and unable to work, and the final showdown fizzles.

Bears all the hallmarks of a rush job—overcrowded, underpowered and noisy; still, series fans will keep reading.