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Stones Unturned by Christopher Golden & Thomas E. Sniegoski
Review by Drew Bittner
Ace Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0441014461
Date: 26 September, 2006 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The Menagerie has faced a lot of challenges before, but this time it's personal... because they're facing off against one of their own.

More by Christopher Golden & Thomas E. Sniegoski
The Nimble Man

Adolescence is bad enough. When you're an adolescent demonic changeling like Danny Ferrick, "bad" takes on whole new worlds of meaning. Coping with turbulent emotions, Danny wants only to be loved and accepted, but fears that even among Mr. Doyle's family of oddities, he cannot ever belong. When Danny's father Baalphegor breaches the dimensions and comes to Earth, it seems he may finally have all that he wants-- but only if he gives up everything he ever loved.

But what does Baalphegor want with Danny?

Eve, the biblical Mother of Humanity (who long ago became a vampire), and Squire, Doyle's goblin servant and armorer, take to the streets to keep Danny from succumbing to demonic temptation. If he kills an innocent, he's finished, and the Menagerie will have to take him down.

One added problem is that the team is hardly at full strength. Pursuing the first lead he's had in ages, the ghostly Dr. Leonard Graves comes across evidence that an old case of his wasn't exactly resolved as he'd believed-- and he may have a role in an unsolved murder as well. Accompanied by the metamorphic Clay, he unearths (literally) proof that something was done to him by an old ally-turned-enemy. With this revelation, finding he cannot trust his own memories, Graves is at an impasse.

He may not have long to worry about his problems, though, with the mystic River of Souls drawing him inexorably toward the Pearly Gates... and a reunion with his long-dead love, which may not turn out as he'd expected.

Meanwhile, Danny and his father tear a swath through Boston, pursued by the remaining Menagerie. Baalphegor's plan is exposed but it may be too late; Danny's frustration explodes into lethal violence against his former teammates. There's one last chance to turn Danny back to the light, with everything resting on his fading humanity. Has Doyle made the right play or is this a fool's errand?

This third entry in the Menagerie series by Christopher Golden and Thomas Sniegoski offers some great insights into two of the more unconventional characters in the mix: the teen half-demon Danny and the ghostly Dr. Graves. Both have to rediscover and affirm their connection to the world, albeit in very different ways, but both address issues of humanity and self-knowledge that are handled in a graceful, mature and thoughtful manner. Although Danny is a typical adolescent in many ways, his issues resonate and are amplified by his split heritage (in much the same way that Buffy the Vampire Slayer used supernatural evil as a metaphor for growing up and surviving adolescence as well).

By far the best entry in the series to date, Golden and Sniegoski have a great deal of story left to tell. If you haven't tried the books yet, give this one a try.

Recommended.

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