TROLLS IN THE HAMPTONS was an oddball choice for me to read. Its contemporary fantasy (not quite urban as it deals with mainly 'high end' fantasy creatures like fairies, trolls and elves), but the blurb just didn't pull me in. It kind of peaked my interest, but not anywhere near the level of 'I should read this before anything else'. It was the cover that convinced me; a realistically drawn young woman with the backdrop montage of retro-comic art.
The story takes a little while to get going. Fafhrd the big troll shows up very early on, but the actual plot to the book takes a little longer. The first third or so is taken up with what it’s like to be a moderately successful writer/artist in New York City. I recognized some of the places that Jerome mentions--definitely Penn Station and the LIRR--but I had no idea there was a 'Jitney' bus line from Manhattan to the Hamptons.
The fun begins when Willow arrives back home in Paumanok Harbor (in a truly astounding series of coincidences) and she begins to look at her neighbors and relatives in a new way. It was creepy how everyone seemed to know everything and like Willow I wondered if that was a product of being a nosy small town of the supposed powers they all had.
There are large moments of info-dumping, mostly in regards to the supernatural realm that can get long-winded and exhausting to read. Multiple times I wished that Grant was really speaking to me with his British accent because I'm convinced that's the only reason Willow was able to listen.
One of my few pet peeve tropes is used, of insta-love due to fate or genetic disposition, though Willow is a tough girl to sell. She has a lot of neurosis and that makes her skeptical about anything beyond the animal attraction she feels for Grant. Who from all accounts seems to totally deserve it. I do think Willow held onto her skepticism for far long given the evidence to the contrary, but I don't blame her.
In all this was a diverting read. I'm curious to see how the next book (Night Mares in the Hamptons, due out in May 2011) works itself out. The blurb is another one that doesn't catch me, but it makes me question the ending of this book.
Willow Tate is a graphic novelist who earns enough money at her craft to keep her rent-controlled Manhattan apartment and still put food in the fridge. But when she decides to write about a ten-foot-tall troll who's a superhero, one suddenly appears, causing mayhem in Manhattan.
When no one else can see the stony red giant, Willy thinks she's gone crazy, until she meets Agent Grant from the Department of Unexplained Events. According to him, Willy has managed to break ages-old cosmic laws that could destroy the Earth as we know it. Now she has to help him save the world, rescue a little boy, and stop a murdering kidnapper who wants to use the power of a little village in the Hamptons to become master of the universe...