A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark

By Harry Connolly

Rating: 3 stars

Marley Jacobs is not only rich and eccentric, she’s also the protector of Seattle. When her nephew is murdered, and a vampire seems to be responsible, it’s up to her to protect the peace that she’s spent decades building up, and prevent it from crashing down around her.

I quite enjoyed this urban fantasy. I heard about it when the author had a guest slot at Charles Stross’s blog. I liked the idea of pacifist urban fantasy, although that’s not to say that there’s no action, or even violence. Despite being resolutely pacifist herself, and insisting that those around her don’t use violence either, she can’t stop others trying to attack her. But, like the Doctor, she uses her wits and intelligence rather than fists (her own or magical) to deal with dangerous situations (not that fists are a great option for an older lady like Marley).

There are lots of hints dropped about her past, before Marley came to this philosophy, and the reasons behind her very particular habit of not opening doors for herself. Marley’s other nephew, Albert, is our entry point to this world, which he’s discovering at the same time as we are, when he’s hired as her driver and assistant. He’s a likeable guy, albeit one who’s too prone to wanting to solve problems with violence (not surprising since he’s just out of the army) and finds it difficult to cope with these situations on Civvie Street.

I found the pacing to be slightly uneven, especially towards the end, and the last chapter or two especially odd, as the final reveal seemed to come entirely from nowhere. I’ll look out for the sequel, but won’t rush to get it.

Book details

ISBN: 9780989828482
Publisher: Radar Ave Press
Year of publication: 2014

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