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Wicked City: A Zephyr Hollis Novel    by Alaya Johnson order for
Wicked City
by Alaya Johnson
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Wicked City follows Moonshine as the second in Alaya Johnson's paranormal Zephyr Hollis series, set in 1920s New York City, where Zephyr has made a name for herself as a vampire suffragette (in a nice twist to the genre, vampires are the underdogs in this series).

This appealing heroine grew up in Montana where she worked with her demon hunter dad. Now she shares a room at a ladies' boarding house with her friend Aileen, who has the Sight. Not having read the first episode (which I recommend you take in before this one) I missed the back story that explains how Zephyr now has 'some filthy rich djinni prince' at her beck and call. But though she is in control of Amir's powers and is clearly very fond of him (she did save his life), Zephyr is also determined not to make a wish. This is a problem to Amir whose djinni relatives are 'giving him hell' as an unused wish pools up too much power.

Zephyr's latest cause is Friends Against Faust, Faust being a vampire liquor introduced to New York by Amir (who now regrets it) - its use has 'spread like wildfire' as normal booze does not affect the undead. Unusual vampire corpses are popping up around the city. The police are investigating Zephyr for 'harboring an underage vampire' in Moonshine (a major felony). The mayor wants her help. Aileen is draining herself, working with the New York Spiritualist Society. And Zephyr's reporter friend Elspeth has found a sahir who might be able to do a summoning to undo her djinni connection - but at a high price.

As all these subplots simmer and thicken, Zephyr's troubles with the law escalate, and her brother Harry reveals family secrets relating to Zephyr's immunity to vampires. She also gets her wish - and immediately regrets it. Zephyr is a delightful heroine and the series is great fun - with more in store. We've been warned that soon New York will see 'the dead rise up.' Can't wait.

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