A Letter to Readers for The SPI Files/The Grendel Affair by, Lisa Shearin
I've always loved movies like Ghostbusters, Men in Black, and Big Trouble in Little China. It's so much fun to watch what happens when creatures that we humans think don't exist punch a hole into our world and show us how very wrong we are.
The SPI Files books center around the knowledge that creatures from myth and legend are real. They've always lived among us, but only in the last few decades have humans become irresistibly interesting to them—and beings previously known only in the fantasy section of a bookstore have become a very real problem for us.
Most of them come here wanting the same things as the rest of us: a good job, nice house, 2.5 kids, and a dog. But what happens when there are others who want more? Combine that with magical powers that humans have never had to deal with, along with supersized supernatural greed. These beings don't just want their slice of the American Dream; they want the whole pie, and they don't care what they have to do, who they have to kill, or how many city blocks they have to level to get what they want.
That's why SPI (Supernatural Protection & Investigations) was founded. To even the odds. SPI's mission is twofold: keep the world safe for supernaturals and humans alike, and cover up the truth. Because when it comes to supernaturals, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson: people can't handle the truth. SPI has offices worldwide, and their agents are recruited from various alphabet agencies, top police forces, and military special ops, and are supported by the sharpest scientific and academic minds.
At least most of them are. Then there's Makenna Fraser. A small-town Southern girl who is what SPI calls a seer. She and most of the members of her rural mountain family can see through any veil, shield, or spell any supernatural could come up with as a disguise. Down through the years, Mac's family has taken it on themselves to protect the prey from the predators. Since their town's founding in 1786, there's been a Fraser as marshal, then sheriff, and now police chief. Mac chose her own way to expose the truth. Supernaturals didn't have the market cornered on predatory behavior. As a little girl, she dreamed of becoming an investigative reporter.
She came to New York with the dream of running with the big dogs at the New York Times, or even sticking close to her hometown roots and writing for the Weird News section at the Huffington Post. But all she could get was a job at a seedy tabloid called the Informer, where only stories like "Donald Trump Is a Werewolf Love Child" had any hope of making it to the front page. As luck would have it, that same story had also put her squarely in SPI's sights. By that point, any job that'd let her regain her self-respect was a job that she'd gladly take. When SPI recognized her for what she was and made her an offer, she'd literally skipped to her editor's office to resign.
Mac's job as the seer for SPI's New York office is to point out the supernatural bad guys, then step aside so that what she thinks of as SPI's "commando-ninja-badass monster fighters" can take them into custody—or if necessary, take them out. Doing her part to help keep the world safe is gratifying work, with regular pay, and her job description includes three of the most beautiful words in the English language: full medical coverage. If Bigfoot was on the rampage hurting innocent campers, Mac would hunt him with a butterfly net if it meant having a decent dental plan.
Her partner is Ian Byrne, who came to the SPI by way of the military and then the NYPD. His last partner in the NYPD was gutted by ghouls during a robbery gone wrong. Ian wanted to get the things that killed his partner. But that was next to impossible to do when the people you worked for didn't officially acknowledge that said perps even existed. SPI made Ian an offer and he jumped at it.
Mac believes that Ian sees his assignment as her partner as glorified babysitting duty. She's wrong. SPI is now taking extreme measures to protect their seers. Mac is the fourth seer at SPI in the past year. The previous three met with on-the-job accidents of the fatal kind, accidents that might not have been so accidental. The powers that be in SPI's executive suite have taken steps to protect their new personnel investment—whether she likes it or not. That protection extends to assigning their top agent to be her partner.
In The Grendel Affair, the first book in The SPI Files, a killer is loose in New York. The NYPD think it's a sickle-wielding serial killer. SPI knows that it's something far worse.
Prowling beneath the city's subway tunnels is a descendant of Grendel. Yeah, that Grendel. They don't know who smuggled the thing into the country or why, but it's a short list of supernatural sickos.
This thing's ancestor was, shall we say, notorious for its intolerance of drunken revelry in King Hrothgar's mead hall. Carnage is the nicest way to describe how it would stop loud parties. Unfortunately, its descendant is a chip off the old claw.
The timing of the modern Grendel's release is no accident. In less than 48 hours, New York plays host to the world's largest party—New Year's Eve in Times Square. A million people there, and billions more watching. Unless Mac, Ian, and their team find Grendel before midnight, when the ball drops, the slaughter begins, the secret's out that monsters are real, and time's up.