by Steven Brust & Megan Lindholm
Category: Fiction / Horror
272 pages; ISBN: 0765311925
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Steven Brust, Megan Lindholm
Tor Orb, Apr 2005, $23.95, 272 pp.
In Lakota, Ohio, someone murders a liquor store clerk for the sum of $179 and change. Police Officer Mike “Step” Stepovich arrests the Gypsy, a street wanderer who can’t remember anything. However, the police are forced to release the Gypsy.
Not long afterward, someone kills an elderly female fortune teller in a dumpy hotel; near the crime scene Step notices the Gypsy. Taken off the case by his superiors and over the objections of his partner Durand, Step continues his inquiries trailing the Gypsy. Soon Step finds clues that do not rationally appear logical, but lead to the enigmatic Fair Lady. She spins webs to “capture” people for her evil use; Step’s teenage daughter Laurie and her friends seem caught by her alluring spell. Knowing he is out of his depth as the Fair Lady reaches beyond the normal, Step has no idea how to stop her. Only three brothers (the Raven, the Owl and the Dove) working in concert can, but they are nowhere in sight. Instead Step turns to an ancient drunk the Coachman, who knows what must be done when he is sober, a rare event.
THE GYPSY is an interesting urban police procedural horror tale that will remind readers of Stephen King’s earlier works as the story line contains seemingly supernatural elements within the who-done-it. The gritty investigation is cleverly done especially when Step keeps following a trail of death that appears illogical to him as if he investigates homicides in the Twilight Zone. Though the Gypsy and the Fair Lady passages remain vague and unconnected until late into the tale, readers will appreciate this tense collaboration that asks the audience to ponder what are life and death.
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