Corpse Light (Verity Fassbender book 2) by Angela Slatter (book review).

March 5, 2021 | By | Reply More

For those unfamiliar with the set up in this series, Verity Fassbinder is a ‘strangeling’…half-human, half-Weyrd. ‘The Weyrd’ is a term for all the supernatural creatures of legend, who actually do exist. They live under an agreement with the humans in the know…which means they’ll not eat humans in return for being allowed to live their lives in secret from the world at large.

Verity is, in effect, an occult detective of sorts. She works for the Weyrd Council of Five to sort out issues involving the Weyrd community. This often brings her together with Detective Inspector Rhonda McIntyre of the Brisbane police force.

As with the first volume, ‘Vigil’, in this series, Verity is investigating more than one case, which may or may not turn out to have connections.

Writer Angela Slatter likes to give her protagonist something else to think about in addition to crime and so in ‘Vigil’, Verity Fassbinder started out with a painful leg injury. In ‘Corpse Light’, she’s heavily pregnant. Not ideal for the physical side of investigating murders, let alone Weyrd murders. To be fair, she’s only supposed to be handling less strenuous cases, which is why she’s asked to investigate the case of Susan Beckett, who has made multiple claims under the ‘Unnatural Happenstance’ clause in her insurance policy. The insurance company are concerned, not so much because they hate paying out, but because Ms. Beckett consistently refuses to accept any help to sort out her recurring and rather smelly problem.

To further complicate her life, Verity is attacked by a trio of Kitsune (fox spirits) and only survives due to the intervention of a mysterious sword-wielding woman; a series of seemingly unconnected people are being drowned…on land. Plus the ‘Boatman’ would rather like his dagger back and let’s not forget the titular corpse lights.

Slatter once again gives us a tightly plotted crime novel, combined with urban fantasy, adventure and occasional laugh out loud humour. Elements from the first book, ‘Vigil’, are soon seen to have a bearing on this one and, while this works perfectly well as a standalone novel, the final book in what we are told is the first Verity Fassbinder trilogy is set up. If I have one complaint, it’s that in a world where the Weyrd exist in secret from the bulk of humanity, we get to see very little of that humanity, especially those who are unaware of the Weyed. So little, that one could easily come to believe the humans were the less common inhabitants of Brisbane.

Dave Brzeski

March 2021

(pub: Jo Fletcher Books/Quercus, 2017. 386 page enlarged paperback. Price: £13.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78029-434-2)

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Category: Books, Horror

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