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Unshapely Things


Unshapely Things Cover

ISBN13: 9780441014774
ISBN10: 0441014771
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the alleys of the decrepit Boston neighborhood known as the Weird, fairy prostitutes are turning up dead. The crime scenes show signs of residual magic, but the Guild, which polices the fey, has more "important" crimes to investigate and dumps the case on human law enforcement.

Boston police call in Connor Grey, a druid and former hotshot Guild investigator-whose magical abilities were crippled after a run-in with a radical environmentalist elf. As Connor battles red tape and his own shortcomings, he realizes that the murders are not random, but part of an ancient magical ritual. And if Connor can't figure out the killer's M.O., the culmination of the spell might just bring about a worldwide cataclysm.


Del Franco introduces an all-new urban fantasy series featuring a druid in contemporary Boston who investigates magical crimes. Original.

About the Author

Mark Del Franco lives with his partner, Jack, in Boston, Massachusetts, where the orchids tremble in fear since he killed Jack’s palm plants.

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soireadthisbooktoday, April 16, 2014 (view all comments by soireadthisbooktoday)
Detail. Some readers don’t really care about it ��" they simply want a book that they can pick up, breeze through, and go on to the next thing. Oh, that has its place, certainly. However, that has never been me. Rich details, complexity, and compelling story lines are what call to me as a reader, and del Franco offers these up in spades.

Unshapely Things is an urban fantasy, to be sure, with fairies and elves, gargoyles and monsters, and a damaged Druid hero, Connor Grey. Connor puts me in mind of both Simon R. Green’s John Taylor and Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden. Like Harry, Connor pretty much lives hand-to-mouth, taking the jobs he can get from the police. With his brain damaged and his Druid powers pretty much non-existent, Connor has been fighting a losing battle against depression and ennui as he slides from a life of power and wealth into the “The Weird,” the fae neighborhood where the dregs of both the fae and human worlds reside. You won’t find vampires in this world, but you will find dirty politicians galore ��" isn't it the same thing?

When his human police partner, Leo Murdock calls him to the scene of a brutal murder of a male fairy prostitute, Connor has no idea that this murder could be a signpost to the end of the world ��" with Boston as the center of the maelstrom. What follows is a story that I found to be something quite special. This isn't just an urban fantasy. Instead, it blends alternate history with suspense, mystery wit terror, and ties it all together with a huge dose of political intrigue.

In 1900, on this alternative Earth, there was “Convergence” ��" an event which brought the world of Fairy and the Earth into alignment, pulling Fairy creatures onto this planet, effectively blocking them from their own. Battling between themselves, they drug the war between fairy and elf onto this world, battling it out through the World Wars, with some siding with Hitler while some sided with the Allies. The time of the story lands right into modern day, during the Fey Summit, an attempt by both sides to extend an uneasy peace and avoid all-out war. As the bodies pile up, is there a possibility that the deaths are connected to the Fey Summit? Or is there something even darker and more dangerous going on?

Mark Del Franco writes exceptional characters. Connor was damaged during his work for “The Guild” the policing agency for the Fey on Earth. Broken, and with limited powers, he is living in poverty on a small disability check, pondering his losses and the wasteland he sees as the rest of his life. His partner, Murdock may be human, but with all of the bad feelings, jealousies, and hatred of most humans toward the Fey, he is curious and open to learning of the Fey and their ways. He cares what happens to them, and relies upon Connor as his instructor.

Del Franco’s female characters are both strong and likable, with individual strengths and personalities that I am very much looking forward to learning more about. This isn't by any means a “paranormal romance” but if you are a PR reader who likes strong, adept women characters who still follow their hearts as well as their minds, these women will be right up your alley. The story is rich in detail, both in the world building and the characterizations, and holds the attention until setting the book down and remembering you have to do things like eat and sleep will be impossible to accomplish.

Overall, this is a series sure to appeal to a number of different genre readers, and a new-to-me author who goes immediately to the top of my “must” list.

I purchased this book on my own. My comments are my own opinion.

Reading order for the series is:


Mark Del Franco is also the author of the books:



Set in the Connor Gray alternative reality, these books feature the adventures of Laura Blackstone.
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Brooke Reviews, August 22, 2009 (view all comments by Brooke Reviews)
In The Weird, a neighborhood in Boston, fairy prostitutes are turning up dead. Their hearts have all been taken and left in their place - magical stones. There are two groups that cover crimes in Boston & The Weird: The Guild, who are the fey run law enforcement, and then the human law enforcement. The Guild, uninterested in these murders leaves the solving up to the humans. Working with the humans is Connor Grey, a druid who was left crippled when he lost almost all of his powers in an accident with a radical terrorist elf. He was taken off The Guild, and put on disability. Connors got a lot to deal with while trying to solve this case: Not being respected by the fey community, not being liked by the humans, and not having his full magical abilities to put to use. By trading information with a few of his close allies Connor figures out that these aren't random murders, that the dead prostitutes are a part of a ancient ritual that will open a portal and destroy the world.

My thoughts?

First of all this book was released in 2007, and it has taken me this long to catch up on it! I love getting a taste of a guys perspective in Urban Fantasy, a genre where women reign supreme. Mark Del Franco has something great going on in The Weird, and that's hero Connor Grey. You gotta love him. He's on the outs without his powers, and many times hearing how he acted previously when he had his powers make it nice to see him knocked down a peg. He's surrounded by a great cast of characters. All three ladies he is FRIENDS with are intriguing and strong. Maybe a possible love interest in one? I vote for Meryl. Also, his friend Stinkwort, aka Joe, a Flit, is one of the best characters. What is it with small characters and their fantastic attitudes. Absolutely loved him Joe! His human partner and friend Murdock is straight forward, and is content to put Connor in his place whenever necessary.

The case, hearing the back story on the Fae races, and about Connor's past were all interesting. Although, sometimes the descriptiveness got to be a bit much. I'm on the side where there is such a thing as TOO much detail, and it seemed like since this was the first book in a series Mark wanted to set up The Weird so that he didn't have to do it in future books. At least I hope that's what he did. I'd compare the characterization in this series to the Dresden Files, and the world building to Kim Harrison's Hollows. Both very good series, so Connor Grey is in good company, but maybe not on the same level yet.

Overall this was an enjoyable read for when I found myself in a reading slump. Now I'm back on the reading train and chugging right along!
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Product Details

Del Franco, Mark
Ace Books
Franco, Mark Del
Franco, Mark
Fantasy - General
Fantasy - Contemporary
Mystery fiction
Fantasy fiction
Science Fiction and Fantasy-Fantasy
Edition Description:
B-Mass Market
Connor Grey
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
6.80x4.24x.88 in. .33 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » General

Unshapely Things Used Mass Market
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Product details 320 pages Ace Books - English 9780441014774 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Del Franco introduces an all-new urban fantasy series featuring a druid in contemporary Boston who investigates magical crimes. Original.
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