The Shambling Guide To New York City by Mur Lafferty REVIEW

The Shambling Guide To New York City by Mur Lafferty book review.

The action scene. Whether it’s a car chase, a fist fight or (as here) an aeroplane attacking a group of public sector workers, action scenes are something that the written word can struggle with. They work great on screen, or even on a comic page, but to describe punches and falls and gunfire in words alone is a rare skill. It’s also one displayed admirably here by Mur Lafferty, who includes pitched battles without once losing our attention, describing every blow and carrying us all along in the excitement.

The plot might sound a little more low-key: a travel book editor, Zoë, has returned to New York and is desperate for a new job. After wandering into one of the city’s stranger bookstores she soon finds herself with a vampire for a boss, preparing a guide to the city for visiting “coterie” – which covers zombies, spirits, gods, incubi, succubi and more. She deals with the dangers and revelations pretty well – quite a feat when one of your co-workers is an incubus and the coterie world has no sexual harassment laws. Of course, things are never that simple, and soon someone’s messing with the zombies’ food supply and sending her animated constructs made of parts of an ex-boyfriend.

It’s a well-written and immersive world, and though the main twist is a little too neat, the likeable characters and aforementioned action scenes mean this is a travel series you’ll definitely want to stick with.

Rhian Drinkwater

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