Tim Powers takes on LA's freeways in 'Altered Routes'

I just finished the first novel in Tim Powers' "Vickery and Castine" series, Altered Routes, a tale of unintended mystic events arising from Los Angeles freeway traffic.

Tim Powers is always at the top of the list when folks ask about my favorite authors. His weaving mythology and legend into modern stories that revolve around secret histories of our most mundane landmarks never ever disappoints. This introduction to his new characters Sebastian Vickery and Ingrid Castine is wonderful.

Ghosts abound in Power's Los Angeles, as in several of his other novels. In Altered Routes we learn they are drawn here by the freeways, when a reasonable number of living souls move through the same space, at the same pace, over a long time, odd things start to happen. Ingrid Castine is an agent for the Transportation Utility Agency, a secret Federal police agency that seeks to interrogate ghosts of folks who recently died. She is working near an LA freeway cause dead folk are easier to reach there. Sebastian Vickery is a fugitive Secret Service agent who had a bad run-in with the TUA years ago, and now acts as a driver for people having problems with the spiritual interfering with their errands.

Together they unwind the mystery of LA's mystic freeways, explore area food trucks, and Griffith Park. Griffith J. Griffith shooting his wife in the head is not mentioned, however.

I am starting the second book in this series tonight.

Alternate Routes (Vickery and Castine Series Book 1) via Amazon