MYSTERY

The Book of Lamps and Banners

Mulholland: Little, Brown. (Cass Neary, Bk. 4). Sept. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780316485937. $27. THRILLER
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Hand’s punk antiheroine Cass Neary returns in her fourth adventure (after 2016’s Hard Light). Still hiding out in London on a shady passport, still drinking and drugging, she finds trouble this time in the form of an ancient illuminated manuscript, The Book of Lamps and Banners, rumored to have been written by Aristotle, and to have magical properties. An old frenemy of Cass’s plans to sell the book to software designer Tindra Bergstrand, who wants to use it to complete a mindaltering app. But when a bookseller is killed, the manuscript is stolen, and Tindra disappears, Cass grabs her old flame, Quinn, and staggers after all. Up against white nationalists in London, sinister residents on an island off the Swedish coast, and her own dependencies and darkness, Cass may not make it out alive.
VERDICT Hand’s desolate descriptions and Cass’s larger-than-life persona help to carry a story that is not as intricately plotted as her 2019 stand-alone, Curious Toys, with a few characters not fully f leshed out. Still, followers of the series will be happy to see Cass return

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