From the author of Playing for Keeps (2008), a comedic fantasy about monsters and New Yorkers—and, as residents will be unsurprised to learn, monsters who are New Yorkers.
Fresh from the North Carolina train wreck that was her previous job—she was seduced by her boss, and his wife, a cop, found out—Zoë Norris hopes for a gig as a travel book editor in New York. She finds what seems to be the ideal job, but business owner Phillip Rand proves extremely reluctant to hire her despite her excellent credentials. Why? Well—she’s human. Phil, it turns out, is a vampire, and among the other employees are an incubus, a water sprite, a death goddess and several zombies who keep a supply of brains in the office refrigerator—they’re a little slow but OK unless they get hungry. Zoë can’t help but wonder what other “coterie” are out there. Werewolves? Ghosts? “Banshees? Now everything about Britney Spears made sense.” Not to mention Granny Good Mae, a homeless bag lady who for some reason terrifies the coterie. Then Phil hires a construct (a Frankenstein’s monster) as head of CR (that’s Coterie Resources, Zoë being the sole human). What Zoë finds horrible and suspicious is that the new guy wears the head of an old college boyfriend. As things rapidly get out of hand, Zoë will learn just how hard it is to resist a hungry incubus and the pivotal role played by the employees of the city’s Public Works department—you will never look at those figures in reflective vests and hard hats emerging from mysterious dark apertures in the same way again.
The hip, knowing and sometimes hysterically funny narrative, interspersed with excerpts from the guide of the title, lurches along in splendid fashion. Combine wit, style and acute observation: The result is irresistible.