Carolyn Cushman Reviews Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw

Vivian Shaw, Dreadful Company (Orbit US 978-0-316-43463-8, $15.99, 323pp, tp) July 2018. Cover by Will Staehle.

Dr. Greta Helsing goes to Paris for a medical conference on treating supernatural sorts and natu­rally runs into monsters, from an unexpected little wellmonster in her sink, to some overly cliché goth vampires with pretentious names and a leader with an old grudge against Lord Ruthven. He’s only in Paris long enough to take Greta out for a night at the opera, but that’s enough to get her kidnapped, and it takes a while for her friends to realize she’s missing. Once they do, however, they mobilize, with Varney the vampire rushing over from England, and even the demon Fastitocalon comes back from his healing sojourn in hell. New additions to Greta’s helpers include a werewolf who’s become the unofficial guardian of Paris (apparently the former Beast of Gevaudan), and an entertaining pair of immortal “remedial psychopomps” looking into a ghost outbreak. Things get very dark at times as the action moves through some spectacular settings, from the city’s famous catacombs and cemeteries, to the fantastic architecture of the Paris Opera. It’s a grand romp, mixing plenty of humor (even Oscar Wilde chimes in) and some heartwarming moments amid the chills.

Carolyn F. Cushman, Senior Editor, has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.

This review and more like it in the July 2018 issue of Locus.
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