How would you like your job if your co-workers included a vampire and a werewolf?
Bea Alexander, an elementary schoolteacher, has one trait so alarming most people avoid her. Even her family calls her a monster. So when George Black drops by and invites her to join F.R.E.A.K.S. (Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals), his unit at the FBI, she’s so lonely that she agrees and is whisked off to a secret compound in Kansas. There she meets a dishy vampire, a handsome werewolf, a woman who can make her spontaneously combust, a teen who used to rob banks and specializes in teleportation, a blind man who chats with ghosts and a psychic who can read her mind. Their mission is to fight “UNCRETS,” that is, unidentified creatures. But first Bea has to learn how to harness her awesome power to blast people, places and things to smithereens. She’s barely through training when she and the other Freaks head to Colorado to solve two murders the local sheriff attributes to wild animals but the FBI doesn’t. The adventure entails several near-death experiences when they are twice attacked by zombies, assaulted by ghouls, practically incinerated in a cemetery mausoleum, sucked empty of liters of blood, shot at and, in Bea’s case, both propositioned and almost devoured by the vampire and the werewolf. Babysitting a little dead girl puts Bea in harm’s way, but her training and her special skill save the day, give or take a few missing chunks of flesh.
If Donald Westlake had ever gotten around to writing a paranormal mystery, it would have sounded like this. Harlow’s genre debut is funny, creepy and refreshingly brash.