Another urban fantasy (Trader, 1997, etc.) set in the fictional town of Newford, from Canadian writer de Lint. Hank Walker and his armored gypsy cab offer a discreet service to various shady customers. But late one night Hank stops to help photographer Lily Carson when she's threatened by a man with a gun- -and gets shot. Out of nowhere come two street punks, the mischievous ``crow girls'' Maida and Zia. Astonishingly, they dispatch the hoodlum and heal Hank with a touch. Lily confesses that she's searching for ``animal people,'' the land's original shape-shifting inhabitants. Slowly, Hank and Lily accept the reality of an entire unsuspected community of magical shape- shifters--indeed, they have animal blood themselves. Then Hank discovers that the villain killed by the crow girls was a notorious mobster from an evil family of cuckoos. But what did he want with Lily? Well, she keeps her exposed films in a battered old tin that turns out to be Raven's magical pot, missing for ages, from which humanity (among other things) was stirred. Cody the coyote hired the cuckoos to find the pot so he could stir it again, to remove humanity (having created humans in the first place, Cody's anxious to atone for his error). But the dreadful cuckoos grab the pot--it turns into a chalice--intending to wipe out the crows. Problem is, without the crows there won't be a world at all. All this is merely a hint of the delightful complexities to be found here: an enthralling blend of old European and Native American mythology, seamlessly worked into a modern setting and situation. De Lint's best so far.