Meteorological catastrophe threatens when an evildoer brings all four Seasons to Ireland at once.
On appointed days, Neil and Liz’s father, the Weatherman, need only step out to the old-fashioned booth in the road in front of the family’s B&B and summon the next season through the ringing phone. It’s an ancient bargain—suddenly imperiled when the Maloneys’ malign neighbor, Mrs. Fitzgerald, sets in motion a scheme to take the job for herself by having the phone disconnected. Not only is the country stuck with Summer, but the failure draws the other immense, irascible entities down for a stormy enquiry. Furthermore, to counter any defenses, Mrs. Fitzgerald cleverly tricks Neil into freeing a brand new baby Season through which she can control a host of destructive weather elementals. An unusually varied cast ranging from eldritch magical figures to seemingly ordinary mortals with surprising depths and even, shades of Terry Pratchett, a cheery Tourist is sucked into the author’s tale as it whirls toward its climatic climax. The premise doesn’t bear close examination, but Quinlan throws together such an engaging mix of desperate ploys, frantic conversational hubbubs, embedded yarns, bursts of blarney, wild weather battles, sacrifices, and admirably courageous acts that readers will be less inclined to analyze faults than just go with it all to see where it leads.
A boisterous, gusty romp and an exhilarating debut. (Fantasy. 10-12)