Jun 172021

Publishers Weekly: Moody and atmospheric, this dystopian novella from Mohamed (A Broken Darkness) skillfully turns a murder mystery into a scathing examination of what life might be like in even later stage capitalism. Narrator Jewel and the other courtesans of the House of Bicchieri, an elite brothel, are holding a secret wake for one of their number, Winfield, in the abandoned church that is their place of worship, when Winfield suddenly comes back to life. The undead Winfield recalls being murdered—a fact the owners of the House covered up—and seeks revenge for her death and all the other injuries and injustices meted out to her fellow courtesans by the House’s über-wealthy clientele. Jewel hungers for revenge herself, but is kept in such purposeful and permanent precarity that she can’t act out. Then the owners profane the courtesans’ church, and Jewel must make a choice between protecting Winfield’s plans or her place in the House of Bicchieri. The lush prose, rife with classical allusions, captivates, echoing the brothel’s penchant for containing horrors but covering them up in a wealth of gilded detail. Mohamed’s fans won’t want to miss the mesmerizing lyricality of her latest.