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Shadows in the Starlight: A Changeling Detective Novel    by Elaine Cunningham Amazon.com order for
Shadows in the Starlight
by Elaine Cunningham
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the sequel to Shadows In The Darkness (where I recommend readers start), which introduced feisty paranormal PI heroine, Gwen GiGi Gelman. Once a member of the Providence, Rhode Island vice squad, Gwen now runs her own investigative agency, with ongoing help from black cop friend Damian O'Riley. He has 'the tenacity of a pit bull' and is also a magus, someone who can see more than the average human.

As the story opens, Gwen is still obsessed with finding the killer of her past mentor/partner Frank Cross, despite the fact that his death has been ruled as accidental. Further deaths punctuate this episode as its plot thickens. In the first book, Gwen found out that she is a changeling, an elf left to be raised by humans as a baby. This has left her a youthful appearance, and certain Qualities - the ability to Remember, to call storms, and a third, still unidentified.

The mysterious Ian Forest is high in the councils of the fey folk, the ruthless Elders who toy with 'humans like malevolent cats playing with cornered mice'. Ian watches Gwen closely, intervenes often, and is concerned that she develop her talents. He teaches her an inviolable oath - 'by moon and star, wind and word' that changes her eating habits. Native American Jason Cross (posing as Frank Cross's estranged son and a budding computer expert) is watching Gwen for Forest - or does he have his own agenda?

Damian hires Gwen to investigate a man 'sniffing around' his sister Shawna, who's made bad choices in previous fiancÚs. Gwen's attorney friend Marcy asks her to investigate the disappearance of her abusive ex's new wife Erin and their small son. She discovers that Erin is also a changeling, one with unique powers, and that the Elder Folk have a Royal House with authorized assassins. And there's a new drug circulating and stirring up all kinds of trouble amongst humans.

Though its plot threads are not very tightly woven, Shadows in the Starlight is fast-paced fun, with a promising premise and an engaging kick-butt lead whose personal life presents plenty of intrigue and mystery. I look forward to more Changeling Detective stories.

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