Australian native Daniel O'Malley has written a book that slithered right up onto my favorites list--and that list isn't terribly long. The Rook is a mystery coupled with a sci fi scenario in which an ancient secret British organization, the Chequy, handles any supernatural crises that arise. Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in a park surrounded by corpses wearing gloves. She has no recollection of anything, not even her name. She has horrible black eyes and bruises. Fortunately, there are instructions. A note. From her self. Her former self knew she had been betrayed and was going to lose her memory, so she prepared. Kind of in an OCD way. There are letters everywhere. There's a purple binder. Myfanwy reads about her life as a rook, a so-called gifted, brilliant, and powerful executive in the Chequy, but one who is pathologically shy. At least her former self was. The new one says things like, "Thank heavens we have you here to tell us when your superiors should be listened to and when they should be ignored." That makes me gape, too. Maybe not shy anymore? Must be the Toblerone chocolate she hides in her desk.
O'Malley has created an England as richly imaginative and fun as Harry Potter's. It reminds me of a cross between Men in Black and Star Gate One. The humor keeps you interested when the terror might weigh you down. I mean, really, a glowing violet fungus that swallowed chanting people (who keep chanting inside it) and then tries to swallow Bath? A single mind occupying three bodies--what's that, a new twist on Siamese Twins? All the Chequy who are not supernaturally gifted have to wear purple? Oh, yeah, this is a fun book.
On top of all that good stuff, O'Malley is an MSU alum! Ya just gotta try this one! ~ Tessa Eger 4 out of 5 stars