Children of Chicago

Agora. Feb. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781951709204. $26. HORROR
Lauren Medina is new to the rank of detective in the Chicago Police Department, but her roots run deep as the daughter of a CPD legend. Dealing with her dad’s recent death, the dissolution of her marriage, and a history of trauma involving the death of her mother and sister, Medina immerses herself in her work, trying to stop the epidemic of violence against Chicago’s children. But there is a dark force stronger than any gang stalking its young victims, and Medina unfortunately knows the Pied Piper, his strength, and the great cost of wielding his power. Pelayo (Into The Forrest And All The Way Through), a lifelong Chicagoan, presents a well-researched modern fairy tale, peppered with nuggets of fascinating information that inform the story without sacrificing the pace or atmosphere. Even more remarkable is how expertly she works the unreliable narrator trope, from the first page to the final, shocking twist.
VERDICT With superior worldbuilding, a relentless pace, a complex heroine, and a harrowing story that preys off of current events as much as its well-developed monster, this is a stellar horror novel that fires on all cylinders, from the first page through to its horrible conclusion. For fans of dark fantasy based on fairy tales such as Seanan McGuire’s “Wayward Children” series or novels by Helen Oyeyemi, with just the right touch of Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski.
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