The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Talk about the perfect read during a blizzard: it's got possible Satanism, werewolves, a high body count and a solution that doesn't get telegraphed. Add to that a writing style that ranges from "you are there" to sounding vaguely like the Narrator in "Our Town" and, well, yes, I loved this book. I'd first met Dobyns through his Charlie Bradshaw series, then read Church of Dead Girls but then he disappeared, so when I saw that this was available, I jumped on it.
Brewster RI is a small, sleepy town until a baby is stolen from the neonatal unit and replaced with a corn snake. Then a visiting insurance investigator is stabbed, and scalped. And then there's Carl Krause, who seems to be off his meds and acting very strangely, including growling. Added to this are extremely (unnaturally) aggressive coyotes and another girl who was raped and her baby stolen. Soon there are competing police jurisdictions and several widely divergent lines of inquiry, at the heart of which are Woody (a laconic state trooper recently jilted by his finance) and Bobby (an amiable black man who drives a Z). What's really going on is buried under several layers of "alternative" religious rituals and the fear that there might be shapeshifters. Until the very end, I had no idea who would end up alive or who was behind everything. Yay!
ARC provided by publisher.