Agent Keith Curry only ever had to use his mage pistol once, and that was against some goblin butchers. Curry never says if they were legitimate butchers or the bloodthirsty kind. Just assume they were murderous and magical because Curry works for the NATO Irregular Affairs Division (the Irregulars). Once a carnivore, Curry turned to vegetarianism after seeing the after-effects of too many homicides.
Being a chef is Curry’s special skill. He uses it on the job to root out murder. “Portland’s art, music, and food scenes made it the perfect place to hide a blood orgy.” If that thought makes you laugh before you cringe, then your humor’s in just the right place for Nicole Kimberling’s Cherries Worth Getting. It’s not cannibalism if it’s not your own species, but it’s still murder.
“Rumpled old magicians, witches in business suits, and faerie lawyers” fill the Irregulars, but humans like Curry do most of the work. Perpetrators infesting Portland span the fantastical realm, too. With the right glasses, even a human like Curry can spot hidden magical signs and “vulgar Gaelic epithets left by leprechaun gangs.”
Curry doesn’t need magic glasses to see Gunther Heartman, an old flame and a new Irregulars partner. They’re investigating why human protein keeps turning up in different goblin venues around Portland. Against a backdrop of grilled cheese sandwiches, Curry and Heartman follow a well fleshed-out trail of vampires, pixies and sadistic restaurant owners.
Nicole Kimberling lives in Bellingham, Washington with her wife, Dawn Kimberling, two bad cats as well as a wide and diverse variety of invasive and noxious weeds. Her first novel, Turnskin, won the Lambda Literary Award for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. She is also the author of the Bellingham Mystery Series.