Unclean Spirits by MLN Hanover, review by K. Bird Lincoln
Jayne Heller inherits her mysterious uncle's (she thought he was gay!, but no, he's just a demon hunter) riches and house, and finds out he was murdered.
By Randolph Coin, who, is a human being "ridden" by a demonic spirit.
She decides to get revenge for her Uncle's sake, and also because she is trying to figure out who she wants to be after the past few years of just slacking around a campus.
Along with the riches and house, she inherits her uncle's "posse."
Midian, a cursed and aged chef extraordinaire (all the food descriptions of what he cooked made me ravenous) who wants Coin dead to lift his curse.
Ex, an ex-priest with a Paternal manner both infuriating and endearing.
Chogyi Jake, a master of the zen-like smile and acceptance.
And Aubrey (and his ex wife) who was more like a disciple to Eric's work of studying how and why riders take over humans and how to kill them.
Although the major bones of the plot are interesting action and assassination planning scenes with Jayne and her posse, the meat of the story is entirely different.
Jayne gets to go through the most realistic "what, magic?" readjustment of her worldview that I've ever read. She also gets to find out that while she wants to be a leader like her Uncle, her own particular style is much "softer' and more touchy-feely than his.
Figuring out how to be that kind of leader and getting the others to accept her and her decisions was the most interesting part of this book.
Oh yeah, there's a romance, but as the object of that romance is more interesting in his absence than his presence, the real relationship interest is provided by how Jayne relates to each of the members of her posse, so I didn't miss a more meatier romance.
Unclean Spirits is definitely grounded in our world, the author even brings parasitology in to explain some of the rider's behavior, and I truly enjoyed Jayne's emotional journey.
I'm hoping the author can build on that journey, and the world, in the next book.
This Book's Food Designation Rating: Yakisoba noodles with shrimp and chicken and vegetables cooked to perfection for all the varied characters and relationships offered up in this book, as well as the interesting "noodles" of the assassination plots to kill Coin.