Many authors have tried to write New York City-based fairy tales, but with THE CHANGELING Victor LaValle gets it right. Here, the city is home to monsters both real and imagined, physical and online, hidden behind mystical glamours and cold, hard computer screens, in the forests of Queens and on abandoned islands in the East River. THE CHANGELING expertly balances on a tightrope between horrific phantasmagoria and crisp realism, but that’s something I’ve come to expect from LaValle, whose excellent previous novels BIG MACHINE and THE DEVIL IN SILVER walked that same tightrope just as effectively. (His recent novella THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM jumps gleefully over the rope straight into the playground of genre fiction to sterling effect.) I unreservedly recommend anything LaValle has written, but with characters you can’t help but identify with, even if you’re not a parent, and a story so compelling the pages fly by, THE CHANGELING might be his most accessible novel yet. Besides, how could I not love a novel in which the author makes a passing reference to one of my own books?