Title: Murder of Crows
Author: Anne Bishop
Drugs that affect both humans and Others have appeared on the street—drugs to drive one insane with aggression, or to render one passive and vulnerable. To the Others, this is not a threat to take lightly. And Meg Corbyn, blood prophet, is having dreams and visions of dead crows. Black feathers in the snow. A danger that approaches. Something that has more connections to her than she wants to realize . . .
I’m not a huge fan of drug stories, but this one is about so much more than the investigation to determine what the drugs are (fairly easy, since Simon got a good hint at the end of the previous book) to why they’re being distributed to how to stop them. That said, the drug story does allow the police to be heavily involved in this novel, and not just in the “we’re going to visit the coffee shop every day” way they were present in the last book. No, this time around, their role is a lot bigger, and the Others have hung an ultimatum on their job performance: find the distributor or the Midwest is going to be de-populated of humanity. (Actually, you can’t fault the Others’ logic—if everyone is dead, the distributor is therefore dead. Therefore the problem is solved, with typical Other efficiency.)
As with the first book, the characters are the main attraction. I actually liked Simon and Meg’s relationship better in the first book, as now that they’re both confused about how they stand with each other, there isn’t quite as much humor. But there’s still plenty of hijinks with everyday life, whether it’s Meg trying to explain that the people-shaped dog cookies are not people flavored, or the way Simon figures out Meg isn’t a fan of scary movies, or the various reactions the visiting Others have to the local humans (exploding fluffballs!).
I did miss Sam, who doesn’t get nearly enough time in the story. I liked how despite the “threat” of humans who want to move against the Others, the main threat is still primarily against the Others in the Courtyard and not the Others as a whole. Humanity is so severely out-gunned in this fight; it’s nice to see the usual formula flipped so the shifters aren’t the ones fighting for survival. I also liked how the villain only hinted at in the first book gets more or less revealed (and some definite justice).
There are plenty of open questions that the third book will likely address, but I’ll be reading it mostly for the laughs and the people whose lives weave through the pages. I rate this book Recommended.