Relight My Fire, a review by Joanna

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Relight My Fire
C.K. McDonnell

528 pages
Transworld Digital/Random House UK
January 25, 2024

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This is the fourth instalment in the darkly hilarious Stranger Times urban fantasy series, about the staff of a unique Manchester newspaper which reports on anything that is too weird for the Mainstream press. Don’t even think about starting this if you haven’t read the previous books – there’s minimal recap, and you’d miss out on too much backstory. This one – which has our team facing a sinister new villain who has been performing dastardly experiments on unwilling subjects, living and dead – is the best yet.

Junior trainee reporter Stella is minding her own business when a young man suddenly falls from the sky – sending her affectionately over-protective colleagues into a tizzy wondering what’s going on. Their obnoxious boss has problems of his own – a menacing apparition is threatening to send him to hell if he doesn’t solve a problem – but he doesn’t know what it is he’s supposed to be doing. And detective Sturgess, resigned to his relegation to the investigation of “weirdy bollocks”, must put aside his feelings for assistant editor Hannah if he’s to discover just what it is she and her team are hiding…
I love this series – the humour, the parodies, the recurring characters and their complicated and sometimes shifting loyalties. There are all sorts of interconnections with factions from previous books as well as a new plot arc featuring a disturbing plot – and some unexpected cameo appearances! If you like slightly anarchic horror-fantasy, go buy The Stranger Times and dive in, you won’t regret it. 4.5 stars rounded up for making me laugh out loud!
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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