Storm, Matthew. Interesting Places.

np: Cranberry Lane Press, 2015.

At the end of the first volume, Interesting Times, Oliver Jones had traded in his dull life as a stock analyst for a sometimes too-exciting job with the Araneae Group that involves carrying firearms and taking on problems ranging from free-range vampires to alternate Earths.

His business card says “Consultant” but he’s more of a paranormal investigator, working under the orders of Artemis, who looks like a ten-year-old girl but really was born many thousands of years ago. The plot this time turns on the uncontrollable desire of Sally Rain, who provides the team’s muscle, to undo her earlier act of genocide. Well, wiping out a plague of Borg-like cyborgs, really, but she still feels guilty about it. And besides, they killed her sister, one of the leading scientists in that other Earth. Of course, every action has unintended consequences and now there are cyborgs invading our world. Can Oliver and his buddy, Tyler, the cop-turned-werewolf, and his talking cat, Jeffrey, put things back like they were? Even with access to a time machine?

The style is light and hugely entertaining, and there are any number of quotable lines. (“This wasn’t the kind of thing Hallmark made a card for. The store didn’t have a ‘Sorry Your Past Came Back to Haunt You’ section next to the birthday wishes.”) There are scattered Star Trek and Star Wars references (Tyler’s a fan) and also one of the best closing lines I’ve seen for the middle volume of a trilogy: “But of course that wasn’t how things turned out. It wasn’t even close.”

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