The outskirts sounded as much like a heartbeat as the city. The heat came down like rain and the populous marched through the streets, continuing on their rails without pause. It was a miserable existence.
Rosemarie looked at her left and saw Sariah there. Her friend smiled, a stark white strip between dark lips. Next to Sariah sat her mutt, panting further back in the shade. A blue plastic bowl lay next to both of them. For the dog, so neither of them would drip a foot in to cool off.
Max is an immortal witch. Literally, she keeps dying and something always brings her back. It is a fact she keeps from most people she knows, as trauma has shown her most people don’t handle coming back from the dead very well. Yet she and her best friend Striker have stuck together, especially at her tattoo parlor. One day a rather disgusting man comes in with his heavily pregnant wife and as the two of them conspire to get her away from him, the man turns out to be less than human. Which comes as a surprise, because Max didn’t notice. Protecting the pregnant girl is the name of the game, as Max finds herself the newest target of this demon’s attention.
Cat Caliban has decided to start a new career after her children have grown and become parents. As an independent woman who had never had the opportunity to be so independent because of the times she lived in, she decides to go for detective work. Because that’s the sort of book she likes to read! While studying up for it, a crime happens in the apartment complex she owns and she has her very own murder case on her hands. However, it is less a matter of her wanting to prove herself (though it is true she does) and more of how the police aren’t putting enough manpower into solving the crime of a old homeless woman.
Sam Ballard returns to his hometown after the change of the guard in Washington DC, only for the world to fall apart. After hooking up with his one time hookup Jules after his return to his small town, all technology fails to work in the morning and no one knows what is going on. Instead of doing anything about it, Sam and Jules want to have sex and drink wine. Only the world around moving on drags Sam around to try to figure out anything that is going on.
Miranda lives on Gale, where those in charge demand everyone to be the same and to only be allowed the same amount of resources. Miranda is not the same: she suffers from seizures, which aren’t on the approved list of illnesses to be treated, and she has started having visions. In a short amount of time, she begins to learn why her world is how it is and what the truth of the dragon is from her visions.
Dan Shaw is an Interpol agent with no upwards momentum. He is actually moved into an even worse working position right as the story starts, which only so happens to get him involved with trying to take in a criminal from Interpol’s most wanted list. It doesn’t go well.
Jayce is a homeless man with a beast inside of him, quite literally. A monster he calls wolf, who keeps him solitary from other people and barely making it day to day. Elsewhere, in a nursing home, a man named Max is looking for Jayce. Or for a way out of his prison, which he thinks he will manage if the son he has never met finds him something he wants.
Brian Cave’s Old School Evil takes a while to get going, but after it gets there it is a wildly fun ride. It exists as a love story to 80s cartoons and it succeeds in that regard. The old supervillains are old, bodies wasting away as they managed to live so long. And their children have suffered, if not directly, than indirectly from the crimes of their fathers’ pasts. It is both realistic and not at the same time.
Tavia and Effie are not-blood-sister-sisters. Tavia is a siren, who must keep the fact she is a siren under wraps. Effie is not a siren, but is plagued by events which happened when she was nine, the loss of her mother, and currently lives with Tavia as they go to high school together. While Tavia is trying to figure out how to permanently silence her voice so as to stop fearing what will happen if people find out about her, Effie is struggling with not knowing who she is and her fear that the events of her past will happen again. Together they fight for themselves and each other.
I really loved this story. Certainly a lot of the magical influences were straight up one-to-ones for racism and sexism, but as all of this is still ever present, it’s certainly a subject that needs pushing in our literature.
Rachel lives in a remote village in Newfoundland, by her good friend the 90+ Ms. Saunders. She moved here to get away from other things, though she has come back from a vacation to get away from thoughts of an unavailable man. Yet she isn’t back for even a day when the dead are summoned accidentally by the teenaged son of the religious leader who has been secretly threatening her to leave town. It is then time for Rachel to figure out how to help put the dead back, while finding where her own prejudices are also getting in her way.
Van Morgue is a monster slayer. He’s apparently very good at it, getting his targets from afar and going to do so without much question. Yet he is sent to slay the vampire Tanith and cannot, deciding instead to take the opportunity to become one of his former prey. Morgue then finds himself in the middle of a war he hadn’t been aware was coming, learning more about the creatures he was sent to kill in the past as he moves along.
Corinne has just moved to Chicago, a place she hasn’t lived in since she was a child, following the death of her best friend Joelle. Not sure what she wants to do for work and processing her grief, Corinne thankfully is able to integrate herself into the city through her cousin-not-cousin Tiawanda. Yet, right out the gate, an app shows up on her phone called Met, who says it will bring four people she has already met before, one of which is her soulmate. She doesn’t believe it, but as these connections show up out of nowhere, she has to reconsider it. Yet she is developing feelings for Cory, a friend she makes through her cousin’s social circle. While still working through her grief and stumbling through her temp jobs, Corinne decides what to make of her feelings for Cory and the other people brought back into her life.