Nica Sheridan Taggart Ambrose Taggart Ickovic (S.T.A.T.Ic.) craves action and change, which leaves her life as stable as old dynamite. She appoints herself a private detective and gets a mysterious case that leads her into adventures beyond imagining - and she's got a crazy imagination.
She enters a world of multiple dimensions called Frames, where buildings and lawn chairs can be sentient, a stray cat has great powers, books can be killers, and clouds can be spies. On the surface, Nica tackles missing person cases, while in the larger reality of the Frames she is swept into an escalating battle with stakes that could not be higher.
In this first book of the FRAMES quartet, a band of allies that includes structures, landforms, and creatures sets out to stop Warty Sebaceous Cysts, a repulsive trio. The Cysts casually commit genocide to free their imprisoned leader, Maelstrom, who would bring cruelty and horror to all the Frames. There is danger everywhere in the Frames, but also a mind-boggling expansion of reality. Nica feels challenged, engrossed, and strangely at home. As she sees it, she was born to travel the Frames.
=== (Excerpt follows) ===
I became aware that the air had changed. My office smelled like a forest just after a flash flood, when everything is power-washed and tree trunks are smeared with riverbed mud. Fresh and wild.
It took much strength to gently lower that window, but the stranger's arms - all sinew and muscle - showed no strain. I took a step back to get a fuller look and to get farther away. He was a wolf. I don't mean a predatory flirt, I mean he was long and lean and fast and dangerous: coarse black hair, ice-gray eyes and smile full of teeth, supreme confidence backed with survival instinct.
"Please sit down," I suggested or pleaded as I retreated behind my desk. As he complied, muscles flexed inside his garments, a loose cotton tunic and drawstring pants that were as gray as February.
She sat down, too. My other visitor was a princess: not as in daddy's spoiled girl, as in future queen of the fairies. She was as ethereal as he was earthy, exotic but I couldn't place the ethnic background. Cornsilk hair, slanted eyes like unpolished silver, her skin like the penny you've always kept in your pocket for luck. Her tunic was white as a desert sunrise. "We are in need of your detective arts," she said.
"That tends to be why people come to this office." The joke was stillborn. "I'm good with accents but I can't place yours. Where are you from?"
"Knowledge of our ancestry provides no value. We have need of your assistance," he said, in a voice that never needed help from anybody.
"The fate of the free worlds is at stake," she added, in a voice like the first spring breeze on snow.
"Oh-kay." Note to self, cancel ad in NUTJOB QUARTERLY.