Agent -Sully- Sullivan is one of the top cops in the Imperial Bureau of Investigation. A veteran witch of the British Empire who isn’t afraid to use her magical skills to crack a case. But Sully might need more than a good education and raw power to stop the string of grisly murders that have been springing up across the American Colonies. Every one of them marked by the same chilling calling card, a warning in the form of a legion of voices screaming out through the killers’ mouths: -It IS tHe YEAr oF the KNife.-
Sully’s investigation will drag her away from the comforts of home in New Amsterdam, the beautiful but useless hyacinth macaw that used to be her boss, and the loving arms of her undead girlfriend, in a thrilling race against time, demonic forces and a shadowy conspiracy that will do anything to keep its hold on power and ensure that Sully takes their secrets to her grave, as soon as possible.
G.D. Penman’s imaginative The Year of the Knife is a fun, fast-paced urban fantasy mystery with an engaging set of characters, most notably Agent Sully of the Imperial Bureau of Investigation.
G D Penman writes Speculative Fiction. He lives in Scotland with his partner and children, some of whom are human. He is a firm believer in the axiom that any story is made better by dragons. His beard has won an award. If you have ever read a story with Kaiju and queer people, it was probably one of his. In those few precious moments that he isn’t parenting or writing he likes to watch cartoons, play video and tabletop games, read more books than are entirely feasible and continue his quest to eat the flesh of every living species.
G D Penma’s Top 10 Urban Fantasy Books
Urban Fantasy books are pretty much my crack. You can slap down any tattered paperback with the hint of a vampire and a spell in the blurb and I will just throw my money at you. It is a terrible addiction, one that I would describe as shameful if I felt any shame whatsoever from inside my haze of urban fantasy induced ecstasy. Picking just ten out of the list of thousands is going to be a struggle, so please bear with me.
Hold Me Closer Necromancer- Lish McBride
This is one of the only Urban Fantasy books that I can recommend without reservations to absolutely anyone. It has a self-contained world with its own perfectly functional logic and the cast of characters, both good, bad and indifferent are bubbling over with personality.
Obsidian Butterfly- Laurell K Hamilton
The start of the Anita Blake series hooked me really badly as a teenager. I read every one of them, as they came out, and with each new book they just seemed to get better and better. Sadly, the later books devolved into erotica, as Hamilton was given free rein to do whatever she wanted. Her concurrent Merry Gentry series already had a sexual focus, and were great books in their own right, but as the two of them blended, I lost interest. Obsidian Butterfly was the last truly great Anita Blake book for me.
Drawing Blood- Poppy Z Brite
While most of Poppy Z Brite’s books are quite firmly horror, this story about an artist exploring the otherworld of his father’s cartoons and trying to discover what drove him to murder and madness, leans closer to fantasy, so I am claiming it for my genre.
Dead Until Dawn- Charlaine Harris
Most of the long-running urban fantasy series took some time to find their footing, but the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries were perfect from the first page. You can’t go into them expecting novelisations of True Blood, because the books have their own distinct and cosy flavour to them. But they are still a real treat.
Wizard of the Pigeons- Megan Lindholm
Cited as some as the first Urban Fantasy book, this one took me a few attempts to get into, but once you are absorbed into Wizard’s Seattle, the memory of this story will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Grave Peril- Jim Butcher
If books are like meals then The Dresden Files are like candy. I could just keep shoving them into my face forever if you stack them up next to me. More than any of the other series on this list, they take a little while to get their footing, but by Grave Peril every one of these books was polished and perfect.
Bitten- Kelly Armstrong
As much as I enjoyed the later books in this series, I still have a soft spot in my heart for Elena, the only female werewolf, who seemed to be completely done with everyone’s bullshit right from the very first page.
Neverwhere- Neil Gaiman
Since all authors are obliged to talk about how wonderful Neil Gaiman is, here is the best book he has ever written. Neverwhere lacks the grand scale of later books like American Gods, and it benefits immensely from the tighter scope.
Succubus Blues- Richelle Mead
Honestly, this book is just good fun. Not many stories can make a Succubus adorable, but the Georgia Kincaid series just overwhelms you with empathy for the main character as she blunders her way through life.
Valiant- Holly Black
Picking just one of Holly Black’s stories to put on this list was a real struggle, but I think that Valiant might just be the best of the bunch. It really nails the juxtaposition of the supernatural with the urban, and the ways that the extraordinary can hide behind the façade of dereliction.
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