Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Juniper Wiles (Newford #21), by Charles de Lint

Triskell Press, April 2021

Juniper Wiles played teen detective Nora Constantine on a successful tv show, and then made some movies that weren't so great. She decided to leave LA and go home to Newford. She's living on her residuals, and pursuing the art she once set aside for acting. This has included reconnecting with her friend, faerie artist Jilly Coppercorn, and her interesting circle of friends in the artists' collective, Bramleyhaugh. She's happy, and doing well.

And then one day she's sitting in her favorite coffee shop when a young man walks up to her, and asks "Nora Constantine" to take his case. He wants her to find the man who sold him the manuscript of a new Nora Constantine novel.

He thinks Juniper really is Nora Constantine. And he thinks the new novel is responsible for all the terrible things that have happened in Crescent Beach since the end of the tv show.

Juniper does not respond well, and chases this obsessed fan off.

The next day, the newspaper reports that his body has been found. His name was Ethan Law, and he's been missing for a week, and dead for several days. Juniper spoke to a ghost.

Juniper is very, very reluctant to accept that this means she really has to take his case, but in the end there's no avoiding it. Particularly after she and others get text messages from Ethan with more information on what's happening in Crescent Beach, and a conversation with Emma Rohlin, author of the Nora Constantine novels, had written a character called Ethan Law in an unpublished novel.

Oh, and she also learns that the magic stuff that Jilly talks about is not just talk or Jilly being Jilly. It's real, and strong enough fictional worlds manifest in the otherworld. The people in them manifest as real people. They matter.

Juniper Wiles is starting to learn about a whole different side of Newford, her friends, and the world itself.

The characters are fascinating and convincing, and as always with de Lint, they're worth spending the time with. They make me want to believe that Newford is out there, and I might visit sometime. This is a rich, textured, lived-in world.

Highly recommended.

I bought this book.

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