After Zoe Norris found out that her boss at the publishing company in Raleigh where she worked was married, she ended the affair and moved to New York City hoping for a fresh start. Zoe believes that a job posting at Underground Publishing might be just the job for her. Everyone keeps telling Zoe that she won’t fit in at Underground, but she is desperate for a job and applies anyway. Soon after she is hired, she discovers just exactly why she doesn’t fit in.
Her boss Phil is a vampire, for one and the rest of the office is filled with all sorts of monsters (the politically correct term being coterie) including a construct, incubus, succubus, zombies, water sprites and many others. Her job is to write a travel guide of NYC for Underground’s supernatural clientele but it makes it difficult when a majority of her coworkers look at her like she is dinner.
She is determined to make this job work, but Wesley, the new coterie resources manager (there is no human resources manager since she is the only human employee) is doing everything in his power to make her quit. And what is the most disturbing is that he is a construct, or a Frankenstein, assembled from miscellaneous body parts, most notably her ex-boyfriend’s head.
Clearly someone is out to get her, and the more she learns about the coterie world, the closer she gets to uncovering the truth. And it is not only her that someone is after, since the zombies’ brains went missing from the break room caused an uprising. With her neighbor Arthur and the rest of Underground on her side, she hopes to defeat the biggest monster of them all before the human and coterie balance in NYC is destroyed.
This book had a promising set up, but just didn’t deliver for me. In between each chapter, there is a brief excerpt from the travel book Zoe is writing, but it just left me more confused instead of inviting the reader into the world Lafferty creates. This is the first in a series, and Lafferty’s next offering will be The Shambling Guide to New Orleans, and while NOLA is one of my favorite settings, I was too disappointed in The Shambling Guide to New York City to bother reading it.