I am one of those readers that really enjoys a mixed-genre story. A few years ago I really enjoyed Simon R. Green’s nightside series, of a man who would find the lost ones for you. It had a combinations of noir and fantasy.
Strangely Familiar by Alma T. C. Boykin has that same taste when I started reading it. It dragged me through the pages and wouldn’t let me go. I was grateful it was a novella size because I might not have slept that night.
The story is about a young woman, who is a half-way house after stealing money for her drug addiction. She is cleaning up, but it is pretty hard. At the same time she meets a coatimundi, who is a mage’s familiar. This meeting throws her into the world of mages. Only mages and nulls had familiars– Leila Chan hadn’t known she had magic.
Now I was in Panama City, Panama for a few years and I have seen coatimundi, running in packs and disturbing neighborhoods. They will smash trash cans and pull metal off building and are as handy as raccoons. They can be quite vicious. So I was very interested in Boykin’s representative of a coatimundi familiar.
The coatimundi in this story has a lot of patience to deal with a goth-girl who has drug and family issues. It didn’t detract from the story even though I knew the temperament of that animal.
All in all– I am banging my pen on the table for more stories in this world from Boykin.