Second in the October Daye urban fantasy series set in San Francisco and revolving around Toby Daye, a private detective who happens to be half-human, half-faye.
Sylvester is worried when he isn’t able to get hold of his niece, the Countess January O’Leary, so he sends Toby. Toby’s allegiances are vague enough that it shouldn’t stir up his enemy, the Duchess Riordan. But when Toby gets there, no one is cooperating. It takes forever to actually meet January and everyone is hostile. Well, on some levels, it makes sense, Jannie is in a delicate position situated as she is between the Duchess Riordan and her uncle, Duke Torquill. Her county, Tamed Lightning, is the buffer zone between the two and there is no guarantee that Toby is who she says she is nor that she is on her uncle’s side.
Especially when you are using computers to accomplish something radically unorthodox…
October “Toby” Daye, released from a spell confining her to 14 years as a fish, is back in action as a private detective and on-call for Duke Torquill as one of his knights. She’s owned by two half-Siamese cats, Cagney and Lacey, with a bit of spice provided by Spike, a rose gremlin. Quentin is a page at Sylvester’s court, a blind fosterling, whom the duke sends with Toby that Quentin may learn how Toby handles things.
Tybalt, King of the Cait Sidhe and fascinated by Toby. He can’t resist teasing her and harassing her about her manners. At least, he can’t resist until Toby displays a most uncomfortable skill.
Sylvester Torquill, Duke of Shadowed Hills, and Connor, a selkie, is married to Rayseline Torquill, Sylvester’s daughter in an arranged alliance and still in love with Toby.
January ap Learianth a.k.a., January O’Leary, is Sylvester’s niece and a computer programmer living and working in Fremont as the Countess for Tamed Lightning and the head of her computer company, ALH Computing. Employees include Elliot (a Bannick), Gordan (part Coblynau and able to handle metals), the dead Barbara (Queen of Cats who betrayed her subjects), Colin (a selkie), Peter (a pixy), Alex and his sister, Terrie, (both Gean-Cannah), and April (a dryad saved by January when she placed her in the computer tree).
A spooky appearance by Dare (from Rosemary and Rue) in which we learn the true purpose of the night haunts; rathe practical really and I don’t understand why McGuire thinks it’s such an icky thing.
Fascinating, but not as much fun as Rosemary and Rue. I suspect because it was so frustrating with people dying right and left and we never got to empathize with them nor did we get many clues as to why people were dying. Oh, yeah, I picked up on one of the killers even as I did flip-flop as to whether they were one. But, it was mostly Toby and Quentin getting the brush-off from January and her people with some particularly vicious barbs from one employee. Even some veiled hints would have been nice. Elliot’s particular skill was interesting…I wouldn’t mind him showing up at my place every once in awhile!
With Toby’s success rate, I’m rather surprised Sylvester still wants her around. Toby seems to be developing an interesting relationship with the Luidaeg. She’s pretty pissed off that Quentin isn’t getting any self-defense lessons at Shadowed Hills.
Another rough pastel cover with a rather ugly, leather-clad Toby clutching Dare’s knife glancing back in a dark space at the red, glowing eyes of a hooded creature. The best guess I can make as to the title is that ALH Computing was A Local Habitation for this group of computer geeks perched precariously between rival counties.