A genre-bending urban fantasy that pits San Francisco’s Finest against a subterranean horde of monsters who threaten the human race.
Inspector Bryan Clauser, SFPD, is disturbed because he keeps dreaming of crimes that come horrifyingly true when he’s awake. Rex Deprovdechuk, 13, is disturbed because the older kids bully him when he’s at Galileo High and his mother beats him when he’s not. Aggie James is disturbed because someone has snatched him from the streets of San Francisco, where he’s made his home ever since things went terribly wrong in his life, and chained him up in an underground realm of mutants who keep taking away his fellow prisoners and killing them one by one. These three unlikely combatants are brought together by a series of murders that seem at first to be the work of a human killer. In short order, someone kills a pedophile priest, a cop newly promoted from Vice to Homicide and several of Rex’s teenaged tormentors. Rex and Bryan, not to be outdone, get to taste blood themselves, and very tasty it is too. Sigler (Ancestor, 2010, etc.) drops hints of the paranormal from the beginning, but it’s not till halfway through that his tale jumps the shark by means of forensic findings that mark the killers as both human and bestial—and indeed as rather close blood relatives. Once they realize what they’re up against and see that the police department and the city government are anything but trustworthy allies, Bryan and his motley crew shift from police-procedural mode to save-the-world heroics, even when “they were outnumbered four to one by motherfucking monsters with guns.”
A bait-and-switch for fans of police noir, but red meat for readers who wish Harry Potter had swapped his YA credentials for a badge and gun.