Urban fantasy and TV

Smoke and Shadows - Tanya Huff

An unusual urban fantasy. Tony works as a production assistant for a third-rate TV serial about a vampire detective. He is young, gay, and fascinated by television. He wants to be a director.

Arra works for the same serial as a special effects wizard. She is middle age, grumpy, and doesn’t like anyone to come down to her basement special effects domain. But when strange shadows started infringing on the show, stranger facts emerge. Arra is really a wizard. She escaped from a murderous sorcerer Shadowlord in another realm, and he is tracking her down to Earth, to our TV set in Vancouver, Canada. He is set on catching and killing her, no matter how many people he will destroy in the process. She is set on escaping again.

Tony stands between them and urges Arra to fight. While she is resisting, he is using every dirty trick in his former street kid arsenal to thwart the Shadowlord but he can’t do it alone. He is not a wizard, he is out of his league, and he knows it. His only hope for everyone’s survival is Arra. If she doesn’t stop running, if she keeps to her cowardly fleeing pattern, the Shadowlord will kill everyone on the set. Perhaps everyone in the city. But until Arra finds her backbone, Tony has no choice but to keep fighting the Shadowlord and his minions, the shadows.

Fast paced and original, this novel was a joyful ride. Its protagonist Tony was a likable guy, compassionate and courageous. And pining for a straight actor on the set. Arra was a believable cowards until the last few pages, when she finally turned around and kicked ass, and I sympathized with her even more than with Tony. The other characters infused the tale with the life-like complications and a gurgling brew of emotions, while the non-standard setting of Vancouver, my hometown, added some piquancy to the story.

Very nice.