In this genre-bending debut novel, Pratt has written a fantastical western that is full of love and affection for westerns, for Santa Cruz and for the damaged souls who populate the world.

Marzi McCarty, the night manager of Genius Loci, the oddest coffee shop in Santa Cruz, may spend her nights slinging espresso, but her days are spent crafting her comic book, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl.

Soon Marzi realizes that Rangergirl's reality is bleeding into hers and, in order to defeat Rangergirl's nemesis, the Outlaw, she's going to have face her fractured past and her fears. Accompanied by her best friend, Lindsay, and her possible love interest, Jonathan, Marzi faces down the Outlaw, a primal god with a distinctly apocalyptic bent.

Marzi is an incredibly sympathetic heroine whose struggles become the reader's, and her world becomes as real as ours. A stunning accomplishment, this book will appeal to many readers. Bits and pieces of many fantastic genres are represented here, fused into a coherent whole that is something completely new and wonderful. (Dec., 416 pp., $12.00)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs