Homeless and jobless after a disastrous affair in Raleigh, Zoë Norris is in New York City trying to put her life back together. She has the housing situation under control. Next step: a job. When she sees an ad seeking writers for a travel guide (her specialty), she can’t believe her luck. Never mind that the job was posted in the strangest, seediest book store she’s ever seen and that her potential boss seems reluctant to even interview her – she needs that job and is determined to have it. Finding out her new boss is a vampire and that her new co-workers would feed on her if they could gives her pause… but only for a minute. Now that she knows about the coterie (the politically correct term – they are NOT monsters), she sees them everywhere – water sprites, zombies, death goddesses – and the truth is, this new world is a welcome distraction from her lost life in Raleigh. There’s so much to learn, and she doesn’t want to close the door on all that possibility, even if it might be safer.
Each chapter begins with an entry from the travel guide Zoë is writing for the coterie. It is exactly what you’d expect from a travel guide for non-humans – where to get business guidance (from the crows – bring breadcrumbs) and money (from the ravens near Wall Street), travel hotspots such as the sewers and the ancient Tree of Life at Rockefeller Center, where to stay (oversized coterie such as dragons are directed to MoMA) and where to eat. Integral to the story (not to mention funny and charming), these are not to be missed.
The Shambling Guide to New York City is a wild, fun ride in which Zoë takes on an incubus and any number of hunger-crazed zombies, golems and other imagination-tickling entities with humor and pluck. I’m looking forward to her next adventure, which – naturally – will be in New Orleans.
Mur Lafferty will appear with other Speculative Fiction authors at North Regional Library on October 8, and Cameron Village Regional Library on October 10; visit our website for more details and to see which other authors will appear.