In the last couple of years, I’ve got into something of a subgenre. What it’s a subgenre of depends on who you talk to, or which bookshops you visit, but it appears to be the intersection of “Crime”, “Fantasy” and – in some shops – “Horror”. The best inclusive tag I have for it is “The weird shit all around”, but that probably needs work. They sometimes get lumped in with the rest of “Urban Fantasy”.
The format is generally “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio. I, $foo, am one of the few that am part of that world. Here are my stories”.
I first got into them though Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, which I’ve talked about before, they are based on a Chicago Wizard – Harry Dresden – and his attempts first to help his clients, and then over the rest of the series to fight against the rising tide of bad juju.
Next was Wm. Mark Simmons‘ Half Life Chronicles starting with “One Foot in the Grave“. The Csejthe books are mostly about vampires to start with, and branch out through werewolves into general horror mythology, and then over the rest of the series to fight against the rising tide of bad juju. They’re a little more pulpy than the Dresden files. Being on Baen, the first six chapters are available for free on the site to see if you like it.
While staying with Clare at some point last year, I picked up a book by Mike Carey called “The Devil You Know”. I vaguely recognised the name (I should have done, he wrote the
comic Lucifer and a large swathe of Hellblazer), and shortly afterwards bought the rest of the series. The Felix Castor books start out being about a London-based exorcist/private eye, but shifts over the rest of the series to fight against the rising tide of bad juju. The books are wonderfully written and occasionally truly creepy. The latest book closes out the longest running plot-arc, but since the juju’s still rising I can only hope there’s going to be some more…
Then Mr Cooke lent me “Mean Streets”, which is an anthology of short stories in this genre, primarily because it contained a Dresden Files story I hadn’t read yet. At the same time lending me the first book of one of the other series’ in the anthology. I promptly went out and bought the first couple of books of each. Mr Cooke is occasionally bad for my wallet.
Greywalker was the book Mr Cooke lent me. In it, Harper Blaine is working as a private eye in Seattle until she dies for two minutes, after which she can see into the “Grey”, the layer of reality under this one which ghosts and such inhabit. Afterwards, she works as a private eye in Seattle attempts first to help her clients, and then over the rest of the series to fight against the rising tide of bad juju. I’m guessing about the last bit, as I’ve only read the first couple. She’s also coming to terms with her new status as a “greywalker” and learning how it works. They appear to be very good, with believable characters acting, for the most part, without the idiot ball.
…this is taking longer than I thought it was going to, and I have to go to work now. Part two tomorrow, probably.