Autumn Bones by Jacqueline Carey
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“Fathered by an incubus, raised by a mortal mother, and liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, Daisy Johanssen pulled the community together after a summer tragedy befell the resort town she calls home. Things are back to normal—as normal as it gets for a town famous for its supernatural tourism, and presided over by the reclusive Norse goddess Hel.
Not only has Daisy now gained respect as Hel’s enforcer, she’s dating Sinclair Palmer, a nice, seemingly normal human guy. Not too shabby for the daughter of a demon. Unfortunately, Sinclair has a secret. And it’s a big one.
He’s descended from Obeah sorcerers and they want him back. If he doesn’t return to Jamaica to take up his rightful role in the family, they’ll unleash spirit magic that could have dire consequences for the town. It’s Daisy’s job to stop it, and she’s going to need a lot of help. But time is running out, the dead are growing restless, and one mistake could cost Daisy everything.”
This is a perfect novel to read as we head into fall and darker nights, even though we’re already past Halloween. For one thing, the finale takes place on that spookiest of nights, so it’s quite appropriate. For another, there are malevolent ghosts and the reanimated dead, as well as some ghouls and a werewolf thrown in for good measure. There’s a journey to Hel and a whole lot of exorcisms. Best of all, the story is neither creepy nor gory, so you don’t have to worry about being weirded out while reading it.
While this novel does have the requisite romantic relationships for the main character—possibly three of them at last count—Daisy is portrayed as handling them with a fair amount of maturity. Of course, not everything goes smoothly, but there’s less of the angst and woe than you might expect in a book with heavy overtones of paranormal romance. And at least when Daisy is less than stellar at handling things, she knows that she’s screwing up and tries to do better.
There’s an obvious set-up for the next book with the appearance of an infernal lawyer looking into the possibility of buying property in Pemkowet, and I kind of wish we’d seen more of him. No, he had almost nothing to do with the main storyline, but there are some interesting hints as to what his aims might be.
What I really liked about this novel is that it had a good amount of complexity that all came together at the end. The character interrelationships were just as complex and gave Daisy and her compatriots an opportunity to grow and develop. While this is fantasy novel is certainly fairly light in tone, the author doesn’t talk down to her readers and provides them with lots to keep track of and integrate as they work through the story.
It’s nice to see Carey turning her considerable talents to something a little less heavy. While I love her Kushiel books, they’re not for everyone, and I believe that she’s an author whose skill deserves as wide an audience as possible. Autumn Bones is great fun, and I can’t wait for the next installment.
Also by this author: Banewrecker, Dark Currents, Godslayer, Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Justice, Kushiel’s Mercy, Kushiel’s Scion, Santa Olivia