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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Tor.com -- May 2019

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Tor.com, May 2019

Murder in the Spook House” by Michael Swanwick

Long is the Way” by Carrie Vaughn and Sage Walker

Reviewed by Kevin P Hallett

There are two first publication stories in the May issue of Tor.com.

Murder in the Spook House” by Michael Swanwick

This short fantasy continues the series about the Mongolian Wizard. The authorities call Ritter to investigate the death of his friend. At the murder scene he finds a very dead body, plus an over-zealous lie detector technician who’s convinced he has already solved the murder mystery.

But Ritter has a wolf and sets off to solve the crime his own unique way. Will Ritter prove the pompous lie detector technician wrong and find the true solution to the mystery?

The story’s pace was good, but the plot felt superficial with no depth to it, leaving an unfulfilled reader.

Long is the Way” by Carrie Vaughn and Sage Walker

Zoe Harris is a High Cards player and an ex-terrorist in this fantasy novelette. In hiding and much older, she has disguised herself as a successful businesswoman. But when a journalist tracks her down in the south of France, she realizes her past identity has once again caught up with her.

Looking for some answers, the journalist gets to hear a long and tantalizing story of redemption. He hears how Zoe saves other Jokers well past saving. It is a story that includes secrets that could tear the Joker World apart.

The story had a nice pace to it and engaged the reader. Though the story will stand by itself, there are references to the High Cards universe that will be hard to fathom if unfamiliar with that group of stories.