Relentless Melt

Melville House. Jun. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9781685890322. pap. $18.99. FANTASY
In the fall of 1909, shopgirl Artie Quick disguises herself in her brother’s suit in order to enroll in a criminal-investigation class at the local YMCA. When her friend Theodore—who is studying magic—hears about strange happenings at a local park, the two decide to investigate. While no crime is immediately uncovered from their investigation, the two are convinced that the screams heard coming from the park are somehow connected to a recent series of kidnappings. Soon their inquiries will lead them to uncover a sinister plot involving an abandoned mass-transit tunnel, the city’s magic community, and the highest levels of Boston’s city government. Can the two amateur detectives possibly save their city? And why does Artie feel she needs to keep wearing her suit, even after her class ends? Artie and Theodore are complex, endearing, and relatable characters whom readers will be drawn to from the first chapter.
VERDICT Bushnell (The Weirdness) seamlessly blends mystery, urban fantasy, and an exploration of gender identity into the kind of fun and fantastical ride that his readers have come to expect. Recommend to fans of TJ Klune and Kevin Wilson.
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