May 042015

Cover for Vermilion by Molly TanzerLibrary Journal: Old West steampunk has another appealing heroine in Lou (pair her with the equally winsome female lead of Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory) to go along with the delightfully over-the-top villains. The pages turn themselves in this debut novel from a small press that deserves a big audience.

When several young Chinese men who left San Francisco to seek work on the railroad disappear without any word to their families, psychopomp Lou Meriweather is asked to investigate. Half Chinese and half English, Lou never fit into thewhite or the Chinese communities of the city, deciding instead to make her own way as a professional psycho-pomp, speaking to the dead and helping them move on to the afterlife. She travels to the Colorado Territories to seek the missing workers as a favor to her estranged mother, but the trail leads to a mysterious sanitarium, which harbors dark secrets.