Constance Cooper’s Guile

By Carl Slaughter: Debut author Constance Cooper offers a YA coming of age mystery-thriller fantasy with an adorable furry. Cooper has been published in Asimov’s, Strange Horizon’s, and Lightspeed. She is also a poet and has been nominated twice for the Rhysling. She has an M.A. in linguistics.



The water throughout the Bad Bayous is thick with guile, a powerful substance that changes objects and people exposed to it, for better or worse.

Sixteen-year-old orphan Yonie Watereye ekes out a meager living posing as a “pearly,” someone who can sense the presence of guile. Yonie’s situation is precarious, to say the least: she isn’t a pearly, and her “seeings” are performed by her cat.

Already rejected by her papa’s swamp-dwelling family, Yonie decides to investigate her mother’s mysterious upper-class background. When her High Town relatives rebuff her, Yonie suddenly has new mysteries to solve. Was her parents’ death really an accident? Where is her grand-aunt Nettie? And what unknown person is making malevolent use of powerful guile-changed things–one of which is nearly fatal to Yonie herself?

Family ties, family secrets, a whisper of romance, and an array of guile-filled objects are artfully entwined in this layered tale of a young woman looking for her true family and her true home.


Constance Cooper


  • “The plot is invigorating and exciting…Unexpected twists leave readers both on edge and fulfilled…” —Kirkus Reviews
  • “…Memorable, well-drawn characters…Those who like unusual fantasies will enjoy this and will identify with the appealing Yonie as she searches for her roots and a place to belong.” –-Booklist
  • “Cooper adeptly captures the transition from adolescence to adulthood as Yonie faces temptations and hard choices, but the real star of the show is LaRue, whose primness amuses while her mutual loyalty with Yonie gives the story its heart.” —Publishers Weekly
  • “The plot is an almost cozy mystery with red herrings aplenty; the heroine is as plucky as her sidekick is prickly. Add just a dash of romance and you’ve got yourself a fine gumbo of a book.” —Bulletin