Elfpunk/PI noir: second in a fantasy series (Shadows in the Darkness, 2004, not reviewed) wherein exiled elves exist secretly on Earth, mostly despising humans and treating them like toys.
When Gwen Gellman was forced off the Providence, R.I., vice squad by corrupt Captain Dennis Walsh, she opened her own PI agency. Now, Walsh is blocking Gwen from investigating the suspicious drowning of her mentor, Frank Cross; her uncle, Wallace Earl Edmonson, owner of a string of strip clubs, has vanished, leaving Gwen as his heir apparent; the subtle, devious elf, Ian Forest, whom Gwen regards as the devil himself, insinuates that Gwen is a changeling. True, she’s 34 but looks like a teenager; she has the ability to remember things she’s never seen and can summon storms; but still—an elf? Meanwhile, Jason Cross, posing as Cross’s estranged son, befriends Gwen in order to report back to Forest. Balanced against Gwen’s reluctant acceptance of her new identity, and unwelcome revelations about elf psychology, is a fine clutch of PI cases. In full goth regalia, Gwen assists straight-arrow Officer Damien O’Riley in checking out a strange new drug that’s apparently being distributed through Edmonson’s clubs; Damien’s sister needs Gwen to gather information about her would-be husband; Marcy Bartlett asks Gwen to help Marcy’s abusive ex-husband, Kyle Radcliff, whose current wife and son have inexplicably vanished—a case with unexpected and alarming ramifications; and feisty nun Sister Tamar requests that Gwen investigate a vicious prostitution ring. And who is the sinister elf Adrian Archer working for?
Lean and taut, frank, brutal, sexy: a series well worth grabbing.