Samhain Corvus Lacroix, a self-proclaimed “dropout loser” and fry cook at the local Plumpy’s fast food outlet in Seattle, has always felt directionless and lost among his peers. But as it turns out, he takes the term “late bloomer” to a whole new level in Lish McBride’s inventive, supernatural debut novel, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer: When disgruntled mall customer Douglas Montgomery, a mighty and territorial necromancer and head of the Northwest Council, comes into Plumpy’s one day to complain, he detects necromancer ability in clueless Sam.

Douglas, who may be responsible for the Rolling Stones’ longevity, has been performing experiments in the basement of his gaudy mansion, hoping to increase his dark powers. When one of his henchman, sent to kidnap a Were-hound, accidentally returns with teenage Bridin, next in line to head the Were-hound pack, Douglas is forced to hold her captive in a silver-lined cage. Realizing that he can be even more forceful with Sam’s power, Douglas urges him to join the dark side by threatening his best friends (and Plumpy’s co-workers), Ramon and Frank, with the delivery of another co-worker’s talking head, which the guys end up carrying around in a bowling ball bag (admittedly clich├ęd, but immensely useful).

As the once-wayward teen learns his family’s secrets, including the revelation that his power was bound by magic when he was an infant, he begins to develop his inner strengths—both human and supernatural. With Ramon’s help, Sam forges alliances on both sides of the living spectrum and works to save himself from the evil necromancer mastermind. He even finds romance (and a little lust on the side) after being tossed in the same cage as Bridin and discovering that she needs rescuing, too.

Part scary, part funny, with a touch of tenderness, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer holds readers spellbound with unforgettable characters, snappy dialogue and killer (sometimes literally) song lyrics that open and offer clues to each chapter. Drawing on the timeless adolescent quest for identity and the popularity of supernatural fiction, McBride makes Sam’s adventures a scream—and a hoot.

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