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Unfinished Business
Tim Susman
In Susman’s (The Revolution and the Fox) latest, former Sergeant Jae Kim has gone from the war in Kosovo to private investigator on the mean streets of Chicago. Other than dodging his matchmaking, biased Korean mother, his days are spent tracking humans and extras–also known as the extrahuman beings that are living out and proud in the world. Sadly, no matter how many people think the extras are being treated equally, they’re not: several of the larger cities each have their own Wolftown–a walled tourist trap where the werewolves can hang out in their natural forms, except the only way in or out is guarded.

Jae is a relatable, albeit unusual, character. He’s relatively unlucky in love–still a little hung up on his ex, a werewolf named Czoltan, and for the past four years, he’s been partnered with Sergei, a Russian werebear ghost with a rather twisted sense of humor and honor. When a case involving an old comrade from Jae’s military service brings him to Detroit’s Wolftown, Jae discovers that he can’t run from his past, or Czoltan. On top of it all, people are trying to kill him, and Jae senses there is more to this case than he originally thought.

Though filled with well-written, pulse-pounding action sequences and some laugh-out-loud dialogue, the novel’s greatest strength lies in its characterizations and thoughtful exploration of the search for equality. The isolation of the extras and the prejudice they face is a clear nod to civil rights struggles–particularly with regard to the ghosts, who have no rights and no agency in Susman’s universe. The keen attention to detail with regards to characters’ mental landscapes also offers surprising depth, as great respect is given to the horrors of war and their effect on service members. Overall, this is an excellent urban fantasy with heart and just enough romance to give readers the warm-fuzzies.

Takeaway: An immersive, engaging urban fantasy with a touch of romance and much thoughtfulness and action.

Great for fans of: Tessa Hale’s Spark of Fate, Emily Tesh’s Silver in the Wood.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B