Corpselight by Angela Slatter
Review by Kylie Thompson
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Supernatural, urban fantasy, crime
Publisher: Hachette/ Jo Fletcher Books
When your job is to keep the peace between the mundane world of Normals, and the supernatural world of the Weyrd, there are big jobs, and there are cakewalks.
But when you’re Verity Fassbinder, those cakewalks never go to plan.
Heavily pregnant, Verity takes on a final job before motherhood claims her. It should be easy: a simple insurance investigation. A Normal lawyer, who shouldn’t even know about supernatural clauses on insurance policies, has claimed ‘Unusual Happenstance’ three times in as many months. Once a month, her home is flooded with mud, her possessions destroyed.
Still, though it should be more than enough to make a Normal run screaming, Susan Beckett refuses any attempt to help her. Clearly, the lawyer is keeping secrets. The sort of secrets that see a series of on-land drownings taking place nowhere near water.
That cakewalk case has suddenly become a lot more lethal, especially with a trio of kitsune assassins seeming to be out for Verity’s blood.
‘Corpselight’ is a compelling return to the world of Weyrd Brisbane; the town you know and love with a dark, supernatural reality hidden in the shadows. Angela Slatter has made it far too easy to blur fiction with reality- though the Weyrd world might be a bit of a bloodbath sometimes, it’s hard not to wish it were real.
Though perhaps, it’s because of the characters. Verity is the best kind of kick-ass heroine, the sort of flawed conqueror it’s impossible not to love. And if you don’t love Ziggi, there’s clearly something wrong in your life. In fact, all of the characters- even the bad guys of the Verity Fassbinder series- are hard not to love in their own twisted ways. These aren’t the moustache twirling ‘evil for the sake of it’ villains of the past; the villains here are psychologically complex, with the same care to detail as you’ll find in the best crime novels.
‘Corpselight’ is the sort of book it’s impossible to put down, and the sort of book to leave you devastated when you realise you’ll have to wait to read the next in the series. If you’re the sort of person who’ll fall into a book and devour it in a single sitting, you might want to keep ‘Corpselight’ until you’ve got a day you can hide from the world and read it.
If you haven’t read the first of the ‘Verity Fassbinder’ series, ‘Vigil’, then you’re going to miss something of the story. Definitely read ‘Vigil’ first- which means putting aside two days to binge read if you’re that kind of reader. Normally I’d hesitate to say it, but a warning is necessary here: if you think you’re going to be able to put ‘Corpselight’ down and go about your day, or read a chapter a night, you might want to practise your fake-sick ‘reader flu’ voice before you get started. You might just need it.
‘Corpselight’ is published by Hachette/ Jo Fletcher Books, and is available at all good retailers.