10 March 2014

Book review: The Shambling Guide to New York City

The Shambling Guide to New York City, by Mur Lafferty

(disclaimer: Mur is a local writer, and I am acquainted with her. I purchased this book on my own.)

Zoe Norris, a travel writer, moves back to New York City after she loses her job at a publishing company in Raleigh...when her boss's wife finds out they're lovers. (To be fair to Zoe, the boss never told her he was married and didn't wear a ring. So it's the guy who's a jerk.) She sees a flier hanging on a corkboard in a weird bookshop, advertising for a travel guide editor position at Underground Publishing.

The owner tries, unsuccessfully, to convince her that she's not a fit for the position. Zoe presses him, and he gives her the job and an out: if she meets her coworkers and finds out she really can't fit in, she can leave.

The owner is a vampire, and her coworkers are zombies, a water sprite, a death goddess, a kitsune, and an incubus. Zoe takes it all in stride (relatively speaking) and starts planning the book.

Except someone has it in for her, and she ends up tangled in a messy plot with the coterie (the polite term for monsters) and the humans who keep them in check, and one person who just wants to watch the world burn.

This was a fast, fun read, and I didn't want to put it down. I was annoyed that I had to stop to eat or sleep.

After each chapter, there is an excerpt from the Shambling Guide, some of which reference people or places in the preceding chapter, others of which give tantalizing hints at what is to come.

Zoe's voice is slightly sarcastic, dryly witty, and the book as a whole is reminiscent of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide. Someone else, and I forget where I saw it, quipped that it's the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Coterie of New York. It absolutely is, and I wish I could take credit for that comment.

If you liked H2G2, and you want a fresh twist on monster stories, you should definitely check out this book. The sequel, Ghost Train to New Orleans, came out March 4.


Beth Matthews said...

This is in my Kindle queue. I think I might bump it up when I finish my current book.

CD Covington said...

Do it! It was so much fun :)

Anonymous said...

Ooh, this has been on my "to read" list for awhile, and you've just nudged me to splurge and go for it! Thanks! And a belated "welcome back." Hope your trip was great.