Siren Beat is a little bundle of joy.
At least that's how I felt when I dipped into this novelette from Tasmanian author Tansy Rayner Roberts.
I was on a break from reviewing a particularly difficult to read ARC (which I suspect was self published). Before I realised it, two hours had flown by. I 'd finished the story, annoyed and distracted my wife with entertaining snippets and been left wanting more.
Enter Nancy Napoleon
Nancy is a guardian. She guards the Hobart docks from those that dwell in the deep, creatures that would lure humans to the deaths for fun or even more clandestine purposes.
Some Siren's are on shore leave and they are causing problems, dead body problems, the kind of problems, that only Nancy can deal with. She's getting over the death of her sister, the sisters ex boyfriend, who is also a Kelpie(in the folk lore sense, not a cattle dog) and coming to terms with her partially crippled body.
This is Urban fantasy with an Aussie flavour. It's good Urban Fantasy as well. Nancy Napoleon is no wilting flower, neither is she one of those glamorous airheads that miraculously transform themselves into demon fighting, vampire killing femme fatales only to fall in love with strong silent cardboard cut out male eye candy.
There's some strong language as well as a couple of very saucy patches, that make this a very funny, memorable and adult piece of fiction. It reminded me of the Dresden Files, only I think I like Nancy as character more than Harry Dresden.
This is the best piece of short fiction I have read in a long while. It picked up the WSFA Small Press Award for 2010 at Capclave in October this year(confirming my impeccable taste). It's punchy, funny and leaves me with a taste for more.
Tansy secured a grant from the Australia Council to write the first full length Nancy Napoleon novel. Called Fury, it will hopefully be out in early 2012.
Where can I get it?
At $1.99 US for the ebook version through Smashwords makes a nice little ePresent for yourself or someone else. Kudos to Twelfth Planet Press for making the title available in multiple formats too.
It was originally released with Road Kill by Robert Shearman in tête-bêche format by Twelfth Planet Press as the first of their doubles collection. Go here if you would like to purchase it in printed form.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)