Even Though I Knew the End

C.L. Polk (The Midnight Bargain; Witchmark) blends the textured worldbuilding of a fantasy and the intrigue of a gritty noir in Even Though I Knew the End. Elena Brandt has three days left to live before the devil claims her soul in return for a deal she made 10 years ago. Her affairs are in order, and she has time for one last job to pad the savings she plans to leave to the woman she loves. Edith has no idea that she won't be able to follow her dream of leaving Chicago with Elena and moving out west. Elena's job turns out to involve ritual sacrifices beyond anything she can handle, having been exiled from magical society as a warlock, but when she refuses the job, her client reveals that she's the demon who owns her debt. If Elena can identify and locate the White City Vampire, her soul will be her own again. And the search may not be that hard: there's reason to believe Elena is the next target.

This slim novella captures the atmosphere of the 1940s and is packed with detailed character development, particularly in fierce, tender and devoted Elena, who is willing to put her soul on the line for Edith, the love of her life, or her estranged brother, Teddy. This bittersweet period piece delivers heart-wrenching hope and tragedy in a compact package. If Polk decides to further explore this world, readers will welcome it. --Kristen Allen-Vogel, information services librarian at Dayton Metro Library

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