The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

Posted 1 August, 2013 by Heather in Blog, Heather, Heather Book Review / 6 Comments

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

The Shambling Guide to New York City

by Mur Lafferty (Website, Twitter)
Series: The Shambling Guides #1
Published by Hachette Audio, Orbit on May 28, 2013
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
4 Stars
A travel writer takes a job with a shady publishing company in New York, only to find that she must write a guide to the city - for the undead!

Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position though, Zoe is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can't take off her resume --- human.

Not to be put off by anything -- especially not her blood drinking boss or death goddess coworker -- Zoe delves deep into the monster world. But her job turns deadly when the careful balance between human and monsters starts to crumble -- with Zoe right in the middle


My Thoughts:

Zoe’s last job as a travel writer didn’t end so well. Even though she was fantastic writing travel guides for different cities, having an affair with your married boss who just happens to have a police officer wife that he never mentioned puts a damper on any chances for career advancement–especially when the wife is psycho and storms your house looking to give you a beat down. So Zoe finds herself back in New York City, desperately sending out resumes and coming up empty in her job search. A chance stop into a sketchy looking bookstore yields a flyer for a small publisher looking for a travel book editor, and even though the intense man putting up the flyer tells Zoe that she may not be right for the job, she applies anyway and gets hired because she is immensely qualified–even though she is human and the publishing company is run by supernatural creatures (called Coterie).

Zoe must quickly adapt to working with a vampire boss, a few zombies, a water sprite, a death goddess, and even a succubus, just to name a few. But the amount of Coterie that she has learn about as she researches the local restaurants, hotels, and hot spots for the travel guide they’re writing is varied and immense, and Zoe must adapt quickly and learn how to act normally and confidently around creatures that would sooner eat her than work with her. A seemingly crazy homeless woman named Granny Good Mae approaches Zoe and offers to teach her how to protect herself from all the different types of Coterie since she’s working with them. And it turns out that Zoe needs that knowledge since it isn’t all smooth sailing for Zoe and the coworkers she quickly calls friends. Something evil is coming to town and is hell-bent on taking over.

I give The Shambling Guide to New York City a four out of five. Offering a lighter take on urban fantasy, it was a fun journey going along with Zoe as she learned about all of the Coterie hiding amongst humans. Since this is the first book in the series, the world building was a bit more of the focus for this book along with getting to know the different characters and types of Coterie–all of which were interesting and balanced. Each chapter ended with an excerpt from The Shambling Guide to New York City, and the tips were quirky and interesting to listen to in relation to the story as it unfolded. Unlike most urban fantasy, the romance aspect of this story was rather light and pushed to the background, which was refreshing as Zoe focused on her job and staying alive. I can’t wait to read the second book in this series, The Ghost Train to New Orleans.


I listened to the audiobook provided by Hachette Audio

Get your own Audiobooks at Audible: The Shambling Guide to New York City.

The author, Mur Lafferty, narrated the unabridged audio that I listened to and it came in at nine hours and twenty-four minutes. She is a veteran podcaster of I Should Be Writing fame (which I highly recommend), and smoothly reads her book at an enjoyable pace and tone.



I’m a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days–whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son’s Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun.

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