Holly Black is one of my go-to authors for urban fantasy. She does not disappoint in this most recent book. This is a second book in the Curse Workers series. These are set in contemporary times, on the Eastern seaboard of the United States but in a world with a minor difference. In this alternative world there are a small group of people called curse workers who have powers to change, among other things, people's memories and emotions. Curse workers can also kill people with the touch of a hand.
In Black's world these forces unfortunately are not used for good. Set in the Eastern United States the curse workers primarily work for organized crime. The main character, Cassel Sharpe, is struggling with defining his role within his family, friends, and the world at large. His family in particular challenges him every step of the way to try and reconcile his and native born talents with his own personal morality. Added to Cassel's interior conflict are the pressures being exerted upon him by his family members, the FBI, and a crime lord.
The story in this book is driven by Cassel's attempts to discover the identity of a murder. In doing so he has to involve his friends and explore the boundaries established by the law and social norms. The plot, characters, and writing will keep you reading. The theme of reconciling your personal values with your family's and the world at large makes this book well worth recommending to young adult readers.