Harper, Feb 2009, $7.99
Because of how powerful the magical undercurrent that flows through Boston is the Fiana , mages who left Ireland due to the famine and settled in Boston. Massachusetts. Over the decades, their power grew so that they set the laws of magic usage; non-members are frightened by the iron rule of this cartel as much as they fear addiction of excess usage of magical undercurrent.
Frank McDermott calls his former lover Evie “Hound” Scanlon, a practitioner who avoids the undercurrent as much as she can, to help him as he wants to escape from under the dictatorial control of the Fiana. Evie is renowned for her incredible olfactory sense that enables her to locate missing people and things. Her police detective friend Rena asks Evie to identify a strange corpse of a person who has the body of youth and visage of age; Frank was assassinated with his body covered by Celtic looking patterns. Three more bodies similar to the remains of Frank have been found in the past, but in spite of police investigations, the cases have become cold. Evie considers for some unknown reason the Fiana are after her, killing her loved ones. Her theory seems affirmed when they snatch the young sister of a friend; placing her in a difficult situation because a rescue attempt probably means death.
The vivid account of magical Boston in which non-practitioners are ignorant of the swirling undercurrent, the detailed laws of magical physics and vicious Fiana enforcement make for a superb urban fantasy. Readers will admire intrepid Evie who knows the probable outcome of what she faces, but proceeds anyway even as she distrusts any magical practitioners because they could be Fiana operatives; instead she turns to non-magicians for assistance. Readers will appreciate this strong opening tale with a unique vision of Beantown. Urban fantasy lovers have a new star on the horizon.