I like fantasy and I like urban grit… but I have to be honest, it can be rough for me when combined. I just can’t picture it in the modern world. And it’s definitely a “not the writer, it’s me” situation. It has to be done right, and done right away. With an imp on page three, McClellan quickly established an alt-world full of creatures and magic and policing bureaucracy that I could immediately believe in.
Alex Fritz is the main character, who is once described as a “tech Viking.” A half orc reaper/ debt collector whose magic-infused tattoos make him a force to be reckoned with. He works for Valkyrie Collections out of Cleveland, mostly in the business of souls, collectioning on people who have sold them for various deals (ie a really cool motorcycle). He has a host of allies he can reach out to for help… especially Maggie, a jinn who is trapped inside a ring stuck on his finger since he slipped it on in the middle of a job a couple years back. She can give advice and sense trouble from a mile away. Their back and forth is excellent throughout the story.
After an introduction to the character and some quick worldbuilding, we meet Death for a side-job proposal to find some stolen souls. Death aka Ferryman needs discretion; it can’t get out that someone is selling used souls, something that is unheard of… So, Alex is on the trail. All kinds of added fun with retired angels and necromancers and some rules to separate mankind from that sort of thing.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novella. There’s a good underlying story that will keep this series going, which is exactly what you need to get you to that next mission.
Highly Recommended for fans of The Dresden Files and Grimm. A fact-paced supernatural mystery that leaves great threads of more to come.