Antoine Wolfe has a lot going on. His friend Freddy Chtonic needs help with his landlord, who suddenly and inexplicably raised his rent by 25 percent. His new client, who happens to be a racist scumbag, locked him in a straitjacket and set him on fire to test whether or not he truly is immortal. His ex may or may not be trying to escape Hell in order to exact revenge on him. And a teenage orphan who might be the anti-Christ just arrived on his doorstep asking for help.
Wolf is a paranormal detective who works for human and supernatural clients. And his life just got complicated.
Set in Los Angeles, Wolf is a complicated story woven together with elements of noir, grit, and the paranormal. Wolf is hired to banish the ghost of a woman his client admits to killing, but he only takes the case because he’s working on another case, one he’s keeping close to his chest. Things get complicated when Freddy Chtonic asks for help, and that leads him to a nest of vampires acting as a go-between for a much older, and more dangerous, vampire named Azimuth. To make matters worse, the Santa Ana winds are coming, and with them…Apocalypse.
This book is dense. Nothing is plain or black and white. It takes a while to get all the pieces into place, but it’s worth the wait. Wolf is a damaged anti-hero, a veteran with a past and a heavy burden on his shoulders. How he became immortal isn’t laid out in the book, except that his ex was somehow involved. And he seems to be atoning for the things he has done, or trying to. Chtonic is the son of an Elder Demi-god and has the tentacles to prove it. Azimuth is an unrepentant vampire slum-lord, among other things.
The magic and myths (a strong theme throughout the book) are well done, and the worldbuilding is solid. Like a Dresden novel—which I love—there are a lot of disparate mysteries and elements slowly swirling around each other. And Wolf isn’t necessarily prepared, which makes him relatable.
Wolf is a great ride, intense and interesting.
Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and 2013 Hugo Award Winner for Best Fanzine (Editor - SF Signal), and 2014 Hugo Award Winner for Best Fancast. He lives in Colorado, writes science fiction and fantasy, and can usually be found hanging out on his Twitter feed. His Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for Parsec awards, and the SF Signal podcast was nominated for a 2012, 2013, and 2014 Hugo Award. In addition to his Kirkus posts, he writes for atfmb.com, SF Signal and Functional Nerds.