Charles de Lint is one of my favorite authors; he’s a resident of Ottawa in Canada, and has set several of his early works there. More recently, his works are set in a town called Newford, which isn’t explicitly anywhere. Mr. de Lint is an amateur musician and is very passionate about his music; each novel is set to a general soundtrack, and he always informs his readers of what music he has recently been listening in his sporadic newsletters. He also performs at a local pub in his hometown once a week. He has published an insane amount of novels (fifty-odd), and I’ve reviewed some of them here, here, here, and here.

The Mystery of Grace is not set in Newford, however; it’s set somewhere near the desert in the American Southwest. Altagracia Quintero is our main character; she’s called Grace or Gracie by her friends and family. Grace works on cars for a living — in that way where she’s a rather-sought-out classic car restorer. She loves Fords more than anything, and her abuelo (grandfather) was the one who encouraged her. When he dies, she is under a lot of stress and starts smoking again — which leads to a chain of events that are really, really bizarre. Can she get out of this trap she’s in? And will she ever see John Barnes (with whom she connected utterly in one night) again?

I would just like to warn people that there are most likely spoilers after the cut, as I find it rather impossible to discuss the plot without letting some out. There are often mild spoilers after cuts, but this one’s a little different. (more…)