Monday, June 15, 2009

Skin Deep-Mark Del Franco

Skin Deep
Mark Del Franco
Ace, Jul 28 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441017430

In the mid twentieth century, the Convergence led to Faerie moving onto the earth. Humans still fear what the fey can do though their governments recognized Tara in Ireland as a sovereign nation. The Celtic Danann established the Guild to work human-fey arguments and to police related local crimes while the Intersec investigates international criminal activity.

Laura Blackstone is the Fey Guild director of public relations; Mariel Tate is an InterSec’s operative; and Janice Crawford is the backup druidess for the DC SWAT Squad. The three are one woman as Laura uses glamour magic to change her appearance. Currently, she is working a drug bust but is unaware that one of the two brownies guarding the meth house is the deadly and radical Inverni fairy Alfrey with powers to match Laura. Alfrey uses whatever means necessary to challenge the Danann for power. A dying teammate told something to Laura before he died and someone think she knows their plans and want her dead; she believes the American Archives for Fae and Human holds the key to what she thinks is a coming Fey attack that must be stopped or lives will be lost. She just wishes she knew what Sanchez told her before he died because Laura thinks if her amnesia disappears she will know what the radicals are planning.

Renowned for his “Un” world, Mark Del Franco starts a new series with the first Laura Blackstone urban fantasy. He paints a planet in which the species coexist in a shaky peace that could turn hostile rather quickly. The world building is creative and believable as readers learn about the culture of the Celtic Fey. However, the key to this fine opening act is the heroine, who at times almost seems like she suffers from multiple personality disorder except that she frequently mixes up her distinct personas. Her errors are amusing to readers, but not to Laura, who lives only through her three jobs. Character driven, fans of the author will relish the escapades of Laura on an alternate earth filled with humans and the del Franco brand of Fey.

Harriet Klausner

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