When a human joins a publishing company run by supernatural creatures planning to pen a walking dead’s guide to New York, disaster is a given from the get-go. Protagonist Zoe doesn’t disappoint, diving straight into trouble and providing an extremely exciting and incredibly amusing read.
Funny and far from flawless, Zoe is massively likeable thanks to her breezy manner when it comes to any supernatural fact or figure thrown her way. You can’t help but admire her acceptance of the unusual company, even after she’s seduced by an incubus, almost eaten by a zombie and digested by a demon.
Lafferty effortlessly blends humour into her prose – suggesting zombies to be the scholars of the supernatural world due to their heavy consumption of brain food – without ever detracting from the often tense, sometimes gory and always gripping storyline that includes the majority of sci-fi’s back catalogue of mythical creatures. Arguably, most commendable is the narrative’s believability, thanks to plausible alterations and incorporations of the coterie into the history of landmarks and events.
She’s not shy of killing off leads either, many of whom you will be surprised and disappointed to see go, despite earlier hints of their demise within Shambling Guide extracts. This inclusion of excerpts not only points to the concluding city-wide disaster, but is a unique and comical touch.
The novel rounds up flawlessly, seemingly a rarity these days with authors preferring cliff-hanger endings to push for a sequel or two, or three, or ten. This works ideally as a standalone, whilst providing plenty of scope for exploring further afield, and personally we’re routing for the proposed Shambling Guide To London.