Latest Reads: Strange Practice Vivian Shaw

Publication Date: Available Now from Orbit

Source: Review Copy

Meet Greta Helsing, fast-talking doctor to the undead. Keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well in London has been her family’s specialty for generations.

Greta Helsing inherited the family’s highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills – vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta’s been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life. 

I’ve been hoping for some decent urban fantasy to come along, there are a few series out there that I love and follow but not nearly enough – so here we have Greta Helsing and her unconventional medical practice and yay, its all the good stuff.

Strange Practice is a fun and often very dark read, peppered with ghouls and vampires and anything else you could hope for all hanging out in our world, living under the radar, when they are unwell it is Greta they turn to. So that’s the basis, then of course in the spirit of Buffy a big bad comes along and messes with the status quo. Cue an adventurous and highly engaging romp of a tale, layering strange and wonderful characters into a tightly woven supernatural plot setting good against evil when neither side is either one thing or the other. Really great.

Taking some inspiration from Dracula in it’s world building, throwing in a diverse and ever absorbing community of beings, Vivian Shaw delves into the vagaries of human nature using more than mere mortals to do so. It is a beautifully woven page turner, a character driven mish mash of weirdness and wonder and overall I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Definitely recommended – if only so you can meet Fass, perhaps one of my favourite characters of the year so far.

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