One of the many sub-genres of the Fantasy genre of literature is Urban Fantasy or Urban Paranormal. As the name implies, the authors just really didn't want to leave the city (where most people live anyway) to traipse about in dark woods. Or frightening forests, or villages of the damned, or freaky farms. Not to mention unsanitary medieval times, or some lost era before recorded history full of dragons and very, very big creatures, and very, very small creatures that they feel compelled to write a history of. No, these authors stick to well-lit urban areas where one can always catch a bus, hail a taxi, or jump on a subway for a quick getaway when being chased by things far more horrible than, say, little yappy well-groomed dogs with sharp teeth in the arms of people whose standard of excellence does not go beyond "Cute." And, of course, there's always the convenience of plenty of public toilets in the city.
And there are so many urban areas to choose from. In America alone, you have big, bustling New York with all that expended energy, money, and Broadway. And depressed Detroit with some of the highest crime rates, so why not add Zombies? Or Chicago sitting on that big, friggin' lake just right to be the home for any number of creepy, wet creatures with gills. But if you want a picturesque city to contrast with less than picturesque creatures, you would probably pick San Francisco. This is precisely what authors Jean Rabe and Donald J. Bingle did.
San Francisco also features the world-famous (if you remember the 1960s) Haight-Ashbury district. One of Rabe and Bingle's protagonists being named Evelyn Love; this allowed them to name their novel of urban fantasy The Love/Haight Case Files.
A nifty title, I'm sure you'll agree. The book came out in 2015 and won three prestigious Silver Falchion Awards given out every year by the Killer Nashville Writers Conference. But it is just now being re-released in a new edition as The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 1: Seeking Supernatural Justice to herald the release next month of The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 2: Fighting for Other-Than-Human Rights.
Rabe and Bingle have done a brilliant job of creating a modern world where supernatural creatures—zombies and ghouls and ghosts, and even stone gargoyles—seem just as natural in the landscape as you or me or those other people. Even to the point of suffering bias and prejudice just because they happen to be undead or occasionally turn into werewolves or are made of stone. Or are dead-dead and float around as transparent ghosts. These little quirks in their nature cause them to be not-so-nicely labeled as Other Than Human, or OTs for short. But Evelyn Love, a newly minted lawyer, and Thomas Brock, a freshly minted ghost who was a lawyer, come into the picture as the upright defenders of the rights of OTs. Rabe and Bingle explore through breathless action, humor, characters to care about, and a pure sense of justice, the good and bad of humanity—even when it's not entirely human. There are four cases in The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 1: Seeking Supernatural Justice. The last case ends with a big fat hint that there will be more to come. It was a hint you could have taken to the blood bank, for on September 20th, you will be able to withdraw The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 2: Fighting for Other-Than-Human Rights. But first, do get The Love-Haight Case Files, Book 1: Seeking Supernatural Justice, and discover frights even worse than Lombard Street.
Here's some more info on the books to stir your reading desires.
Thomas Brock and Evelyn Love are attorneys who crusade for the rights of OTs—Other-Than-Humans. Their clients include ghosts, gargoyles, vampires, and things that have not yet been given names. The city’s OT element is sometimes malevolent, sometimes misunderstood, and often discriminated against. Brock and Love represent them, whatever the case, whatever the species. Magic hangs heavy in San Francisco, and danger and intrigue is as thick as the fog around the Golden Gate Bridge.
"Love-Haight is a comedy, locked within a mystery, hidden in a horror story... Wonderfully clever, stylish, and ghoulish. Delightfully twisted fun!" —William C. Dietz, New York Times bestselling creator of The Legion of the Damned
"Making the freakiest burg in the nation ten times freakier is a considerable achievement. —Glen Cook, bestselling author of The Black Company series"
“I did not have a useless life, Evelyn Love.” The gargoyle was one of the more grotesque-looking ones in the city. He had the face of a demon and a body that resembled a scaly ape. Pete, the gargoyle that guarded the building where she worked and lived, was downright cuddly compared to this rock. But just because he was a scary-looking, sentient stone carving, didn’t mean Thurman didn’t have feelings, too, just like anyone else, human or paranormal.
Evelyn rested her hand on Thurman’s shoulder, the green-veined granite smooth from the decades of rain and wind and feeling cool against her palm. She looked over the building edge, ten stories up from the street. “I couldn’t get an injunction and—”
“You have been most kind,” Thurman said.
She held the small recorder in front of his expressionless face, her fingers trembling and her stomach twisting. Evelyn felt in part responsible; if she’d been victorious in court she wouldn’t be recording his last words. The two of them might be celebrating with a good micro-brew.
“My last words?” The gargoyle twisted his head, the sound grating like stone against stone and setting her teeth to ache. “I thought an earthquake would be the end of me, lightning, or some other act of God that I’d grown too weak to stand against. That is what we do—fortify the structures we choose as our homes. Our presence protects and strengthens buildings, and I struggled very hard to keep this one intact. I did not have a useless life. I coaxed the stone around me to rail against the big earthquake in 1906, and all the smaller ones that came in the decades after. That is our purpose, Evelyn, to give our magic to the building we’re attached to. Keep it safe, the people inside safe. It is why we exist.” He pointed to a building directly across the street. “From the fires that followed in 1906 … that will be the only survivor from this neighborhood. And all that remains original there is the sandstone façade.” He sighed, the sound like the surf hushing in. “I watched them rebuild that one. Albert Pissis, the architect, he kept the façade for posterity, designed the department store behind it. I listened to him, directing the workers. He quoted someone named Rizal, and it stuck with me. ‘It is a useless life that is not consecrated to a great ideal. It is like a stone wasted on the field without becoming a part of any edifice.’ I did not have a useless life.”
Tears slid down Evelyn’s cheeks. She pulled in a breath and glanced down at the small crowd beyond the crane on Market Street. Ten stories up, she couldn’t read the signs some of them carried. Police kept them back for safety. Christmas decorations hung in some of the windows, lighted wreaths from lampposts, the cheery appearance seeming incongruous to her.
There were sawhorse barricades on both ends of the block, and she knew they would remain throughout the week, no doubt pissing off the neighboring merchants who would have a slow-down in business.
“Time’s up!” came from a policeman down below, a bullhorn against his face. “Come down, Ms. Love.”
She turned off the recorder. “I have to go.”
“Save my brothers, Evelyn Love. Save your Pete.”
The Love-Haight Case Files #1, Seeking Supernatural Justice
· ASIN : B098J8L6W5
· Publisher : Craig Martelle, Inc (August 23, 2021)
· Publication date : August 23, 2021
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