Literature / InCryptid

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/5af88ea4961ff7d3346111fcae6b2b7c.jpg
Cryptozoology runs in the family. Literally.

InCryptid is an Urban Fantasy series by Seanan McGuire, author of the October Daye series. She also wrote Newsflesh and Parasitology series as Mira Grant.

The creatures known as cryptids are real, and have shared the earth with mankind since time immemorial. For centuries, a religious order known as The Covenant of St. George has been defending and protecting unknowing humanity by slaying cryptids wherever they encounter them. But a schism occurred in the ranks, and one Covenant agent and his wife left the order, never to return. They and their descendants, now hunted by the Covenant, dedicated their lives to studying cryptids, learning their ecological purpose, and only harming them when no other method of dealing with their presence would work.

The Healy and Price families operate with the knowledge that the Covenant considers them traitors and wants them dead. The cryptid community knows that the families are no longer Covenant — but they are not uniformly convinced that it isn't a trick. So the family must train to survive both the cryptids who don't trust them, and the Covenant who still think of them as filthy traitors.

The youngest generation of the Price family consists of Alex, zookeeper; Verity, who wanted to forgo the family business and be a ballroom dancer; Antimony, still studying; and Arthur, reclusive part-incubus geekboy. Their parents, aunts, and uncles, both biological and adopted, operate as support and information network.

The series so far (in chronological order for the storyline) consists of:

  • Jonathan Healy and Frances Brown, 1928-1945: (all short stories, mostly readable on the author's webpage)
    • "The Flower of Arizona"
    • "One Hell of A Ride"
    • "No Place Like Home"
    • "Stingers and Strangers"
    • "Married in Green"
    • "Sweet Poison Wine"
    • "The First Fall"
    • "Loch and Key"
    • "We Both Go Down Together"
    • "Oh Pretty Bird"
    • "Bury Me in Satin"
    • "Snakes and Ladders"
    • "Broken Paper Hearts"
    • "The Star of New Mexico"

  • Alice Healy and Thomas Price, c. 1954-
    • "The Way Home"

  • The Price Family, 2012 to present:
    • Novel: Discount Armageddon Verity must prove to the family she can survive on her own before giving up cryptozoology for ballroom dancing professionally.
    • Novel: Midnight Blue-Light Special: Verity faces the Covenant.
    • Short Story: "Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea" (appearing in the anthology book Carniepunk)
    • Short Story: "Blocked" starring Antimony, on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Short Story: "Bad Dream Girl" starring Antimony (appearing in the anthology book Glitter and Mayhem)
    • Short Story: "IM" starring Arthur
    • Novel: Half-Off Ragnarok: Alex pretends to be a reptile expert in Columbus Ohio, stumbling onto a bigger issue.
    • Short Story: "Jammed" starring Antimony (appearing in the anthology book Games Creatures Play)
    • Short Story: "The Ghosts of Bourbon Street", on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Short Story: "Snake in the Glass", on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Short Story: "Swamp Bromeliad", on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Short Story: "Wake Up in Vegas", on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Short Story: "Survival Horror," starring Antimony and Artie (appearing in the anthology book Press Start to Play)
    • Novel: Pocket Apocalypse: Alex goes to Australia.
    • Novel: Chaos Choreography, Released on March 1, 2016, Verity and Alice Healy-Price. All spoilers from Chaos Choreography are marked.

  • The Cryptids, Present Day: Short stories, so far:
    • "Red as Snow" starring Istas and Ryan (appears in anthology Fiction River: Hex and the City)
    • "Black as Blood" starring Istas and Ryan on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • "White as a Raven's Wing" starring Istas and Ryan on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.

Provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Truth in Television. In modern day New York City; a lot of the sewers are really big, and some of the big tunnels are outdated subway tunnels.
  • Accidental Engagement: Alex joking asks Shelby to marry her halfway through book three. She says yes... in the next book, which takes place a year later. By the end of book, he's perfectly willing to go along with it.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: One of the cultist guys ruffles Verity's hair affectionately while monologuing about how helpless she is.
  • After Action Patch Up: Commonplace in all the novels and some of the short stories. Cryptozoology is not a safe science.
  • All There in the Manual: There's a guide to cryptids known to the families on the author's webpage.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Cuckoos. It is possible to build a Cuckoo who isn't, but it takes stripping all of the prenatal psychic imprinting out of them and starting more or less from scratch. The only known Cuckoo who isn't programmed from before birth to be this was Angela Baker, who can only project telepathically, not receive. Word of God says that this is because the Jhorlac's original home dimension dumped their sociopaths in a dimension next to this dimension.
    • They're not technically, but cryptids have to treat the Covenant of St. George this way if they want to survive. The Covenant firmly believes that anything sapient that's not human is a demon, and therefore ACE, even though they're (with the exception of the cuckoos) not. The cuckoos are so dangerous that Alexander Healy broke his radio silence with the Covenant to warn them that cuckoos existed.
  • AM/FM Characterization: An appendix to each book lists a number of songs inspiring the adventures of its lead character. Verity during a major fight scene in Discount Armageddon brings her own soundtrack to a fight with Dragon blood-infused lizard-men.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude:
    • Crow, the church griffin, is smarter than the average bird-cat mashup, and griffins in general are smarter than the creatures they are parts of.
    • Many of the cryptids that look like animals are as intelligent as humans.
  • Another Dimension: Several.
    • There's the Hell dimension through which Jonathan and Fran's train passes briefly.
    • There's the Netherworld, The Christian Hell, the dimension where a friendly Naga operates as a professor, and some as-yet-unnamed alternate dimension in which Verity's grandfather is lost.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Cryptids secrete and bleed it. Some cause it.
    • Dragon blood
    • Johrlac blood
    • Tooth fairy dust
    • Unicorn water.
    • Wagyl venom.
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • Some cryptid species engage in these, particularly the endangered ones.
    • The Covenant arranges marriages as part of a breeding program; Dominic is the result of such a marriage.
  • Asexual: Antimony comments that being gay would have made high school easier for her, but she doesn't seem to have any interest in boys either.
  • Author Appeal: Both of the Price girls' signature athletic activities (Ballroom Dance for Verity and Roller Derby for Antimony) are described in lavish detail by their author. By contrast, Alex's SCA is left largely in the background.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Dominic and Verity in the tunnels beneath New York.
  • Badass Family:
    • The Healys and Prices, all of whom are familiar with guns, bombs, poisons, explosives, etc, and who each specialize in one particular form of mayhem.
    • The De Lucas were this until they died off. Dominic, the last of their line, marries into the Price family and takes their name, finishing the extinction of the De Luca family.
      • There are two major warrior oaths in the Covenant - "the secret and the sword" (warriors, like the Bullard, Brand, De Luca and Healy families) and "the pen and the page" (scholar-warriors, like the Price family).
    • The Tanner family, who Alex meets in Australia are also familiar with the guns and weapons, and hunt cryptids their way.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Sarah Zellaby and Angela Baker are polite, kind, well-adjusted people who belong to a species of sociopathic mind controllers. Gorgons can turn you to stone and have venomous snakes for hair but are gregarious neighbors with a strong sense of place and family. Most ghouls - the only obligate carnivore in family Primates - keep themselves out of other people's hair as much as they can.
  • Battle Couple: Verity and Dominic, Alex and Shelby. Not technically a couple but Antimony and Fern, her closest friend in the Scream Queens roller derby league, fill the same niche.
  • Beat: It takes a minute for people to realize that the dragon is not only awake but just smushed a person like a bug.
  • Big Applesauce: Verity is in New York studying humanoid cryptids. But other than Central Park the locations are all sort of vague.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Some allies turn up Just in Time to save Verity in Midnight Blue Light Special.
    • It happens again in Pocket Apocalypse with Alex and Shelby getting rescued.
    • With Verity on the other end of the coin in "Swamp Bromeliad" and Chaos Choreography
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Dragons and wadjets have a really extreme case of this.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: The Price family, human or not, could give Shaggy and Scooby a run for their money.
    • All the Johrlac/Cuckoos in the family have an odd tomato fixation gustatorily speaking.
      • Sarah likes Ketchup and tonic water, among other odd combinations.
      • Her mother Angela likes Spaghetti sauce with ginger.
    • Antimony is a fully human family member who likes Captain Crunch on cold pizza.
    • It's questionable whether this is exactly to Verity's taste, but she's perfectly capable of stomaching a fajita made from leftover Chinese takeout. However, the leftover pizza omelets are entirely on her.
  • Blank White Eyes: A Johrlac species trait. Sarah and her mother both get them when employing their telepathy.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Alex's eyesight is bad enough that the world is a fuzzy unfocused blur when he's not wearing his glasses, and Cooper tells him that lycanthropy will fix that for him as a selling point.
  • Blood Magic:
    • Jonathan covers every entryway on the house in lamb's blood to prevent the Easter Bunny gaining entry to the home.
  • Bridal Carry: No romance involved, just one therianthrope looking out for another.
  • Broken Masquerade: Verity has to fight and kill a giant snake summoned by a co-competitor on "Dance Or Die" who didn't take being eliminated well - on live national television.
  • Can Not Spit It Out: Sarah and Artie regarding their mutual affection.
  • Canon Welding:
    • The second book references the routewitches from McGuire's Sparrow Hill Road stories.
    • Rose Marshall herself shows up in the short story "The Ghosts of Bourbon Street".
    • Aunt Mary, as mentioned by Verity and Alex, is Mary Dunlavy, as mentioned in Jonathan and Fran's storyline.
    • A routewitch is a major supporting character in Chaos Choreography, and comes with considerable explication of how their powers work.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: The Sleestaks, as well as several other cryptids.
  • Chupacabra: Chupacabra are sapient therianthropes who transform into strange spiky-reptile-wolf creatures. They seem to be drawn to physical hobbies and expressions like dance and Roller Derby, though this may simply be the experience of the younger Price sisters talking.
  • Cold Open: Each of the novels begins with a short adventure that has little-to-nothing to do with the rest of the book, but sets the tone for the piece. The exception being Midnight Blue-Light Special, in which the doctor who contracted Verity to take care of the cause of his dead-baby problem reappears at the end to treat Verity's gunshot wound. Discount Armageddon actually has two such chapters, one set in the mid-1990s showing the beginning of Verity's passion for dance and the second, set in mid-2012, being more typical of the series' opening chapters.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: The very reputation of Verity and her family name comes with great responsibility to live up to protecting and serving non-hostile cryptids.
  • Crappy Carnival: Subverted. The Carnival Fran came from that Juniper still calls home is actually a fairly nice one most of the time.
  • Creator In-Joke:
    • "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it", a reference to Darkwing Duck from Darkwing Duck and pretty much a Catch Phrase for the Price family, also appears in Newsflesh.
    • "Hit until the candy comes out" also appears in Velveteen Vs.
  • Cult: Humans who think they'll get power by messing with/sacrificing cryptids.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Starting with the Gorgons, and going on to the female Bogeyman...
  • Dance Battler/Kick Chick: Verity Price.
  • Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday: Played with. It's actually the eighteenth in the Price family. The family bundles them onto a plane for an unrevealed destination, and has local cryptids separate them from the tourists; they must then find their way home.
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Dominic does not close his eyes fast enough when Verity tells him to.
    • Alex discovers this is also true with moonlight if it's a big, bright, Australian full moon with no other light pollution nearby.
  • Dating Catwoman: Verity and Dominic; Verity's grandparents Alice and Thomas.
  • Dead All Along: In Bury Me In Satin, the Healys learn that their daughter's babysitter had been killed in a hit-and-run accident... three years ago.
  • Dead Little Sister: Inverted, if we are to take the trope title literally. The Tanner family's oldest son Jack was killed in the Johrlac infiltration of the society.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Verity, Dominic, and Sarah all have a rather pleasant conversation with the ancient dragon beneath Manhattan.
  • Dies Wide Open: The way Frances Healy was when found by Jonathan and Enid.
  • Disappeared Dad: See Missing Mom, below. There's also the fact that Verity's grandfather, Thomas Price, is missing, making him disappeared dad to her father and aunt.
  • Dominant Species Genes: The finfolk are cross-fertile with humans. Children of finfolk mothers will always be finfolk, while children of human mothers may remain human, although they display the dementia in later years that is characteristic of the finfolk growth cycle.
  • Doorstop Baby: Little Fran was left outside the flap of the main tent of the circus she grows up to perform with.
  • Dramatic Drop: Fran drops her knives the first time she encounters an Aeslin mouse.
  • Dual Wielding: Fran can do this with guns. It's likely other members of the family are also able to do the same with their weapons of choice.
  • Dumb Blonde: Verity objects to having her hair taken as indicating her intelligence.
  • Dying Race: The Prices have played a role in trying to save a few near-extinct cryptid races, like Aeslin mice and dragons.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Verity takes some actions early in the first book that seem odd given her later characterization, such as unwillingness to kill or relocate even extremely dangerous nonsentient cryptids (such as an ahool, basically a cross between a flying monkey, a bat, and a komodo dragon) when doing so would be beneficial for both the sapient cryptid community and the human community.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Istas, the Badass therianthrope waitress.
  • Empty Fridge, Empty Life: Verity's fridge is shared with the Aeslin mice, and the mice's shelves are better stocked.
  • Enemy Mine: Verity is freelance, hated by the Covenant. Dominic is Covenant. But the working together out of mutually agreeable goals and mutual attraction until they fall in love and Dominic defects.
  • Everyone Can See It: Arthur and Sarah.
  • Escape Artist: Part of the Healy and Price family training.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog:
    • Averted. Jett the dog does not detect any of the mean werewolves although she is sensibly afraid of werewolves, she detects nothing amiss in any of the infected; one of whom is her master.
    • Played with: the Aeslin mice are capable of smelling a lycanthropy-w infection.
  • Evil Gloating: The cultists, to Verity.
  • Facebook: One of the ways Verity uses to determine how sentient a cryptid is.
  • The Fair Folk
  • Famous Last Words: Considered a bad idea by the family in general, too much like Tempting Fate.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The Covenant of St. George classifies all cryptids as monsters to be eliminated. The closest they come to accepting any of them is classifying certain races as not being worth the trouble to hunt down right now.
    • The Thirty Six Society in Australia concerns themselves with conservation of animal-type cryptids, and either ignores or takes advantage of human intelligence cryptids, justifying their actions by saying "they're not people."
  • Feuding Families: The European branch of the Healy family considers the American branch to be traitors and heretics (For leaving the Covenant). The American branch considers the European branch to be genocidal terrorists (For not leaving the Covenant).
  • Flipping the Bird: It's New York. There's a strip bar. It's gonna happen.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Generation after generation. Verity tries to buck it, but eventually wholeheartedly embraces the family business.
    • Fran recognizes early on that Alice is going to do the same, even though her father would prefer she grow up to be a lady who lives a nice, safe life.
  • Foreshadowing: Fran's death in "Broken Paper Hearts" was heavily foreshadowed.
  • Genre Savvy: Little Alice Healy has read enough fairy tales to be irritated when her mice won't help her like Cinderella's did ... and to judiciously apply a lesson from another fairy tale instead.
  • Geometric Magic: Circles of protection help to defend homes and campsites against certain cryptids. The circles also require specific ingredients in some cases.
    • There are also protective runes. Enid Healy knows how to stitch them. They're done in unobtrusive thread on all the pillowcases in the house (at least).
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Verity and Dominic's sex life is athletic and enthusiastic.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: At least three different varieties.
  • Grandma Looks Like A Sister: Alice Healy spends most of her time in alternate dimensions where time flows differently than on Earth. As a result, she looks young enough that she can successfully pass as the sister of her grandchildren.
  • Green Aesop: The reason the Healys broke with the covenant was because they realized that indiscriminate monster hunting was hurting the ecosystem. For example, unicorns might be bad-tempered creatures that spear a handful of humans every year, but they also purify the local water tables. Eliminating France's unicorn population caused a massive cholera epidemic that resulted in more loss of human life than a century of unicorn attacks would cause.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: some merfolk, and any cryptid that can breed true with a human partner.
  • Halloween Episode: inasmuch as literature has them: "Snakes and Ladders" tells the story of Alice Healy's first Halloween.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.:
    • Cousin Sarah after stopping the bad guys in Midnight Blue Light Special in a way that would keep those endangered safe.
    • Fran and Jonathan in "The First Fall".
    • Jonathan and Alice in "Broken Paper Hearts"
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The reason that human-passing cryptids have infiltrated human society.
    Alex (narrating): A lot of homeowner's associations have cryptids on their boards helping to set standardized rules that will make individual homes more difficult to target from a distance. 'The monsters live in the beige house' isn't a very helpful description when half the houses in the neighborhood are beige.
  • Hidden Weapons: A staple of the wardrobe of any cryptozoologist. As a rule, they tend not to undress in front of their muggle lovers to avoid questions as to why they have so many guns, knives, coshes and brass knuckles hidden in their clothing.
  • Honorary Family:
    • Verity's Uncle Mike isn't related to her, but his family and the Prices have been friends for several generations.
    • Rose Marshall and Mary Dunleavy, although ghosts, are both considered "aunts" to the family.
  • How Do I Shot Web?:
    • Ghostly Mary Dunleavy is only just learning how to be a ghost. Fran knows more about it than she does.
    Fran: You're a goddamn ghost! Do I need to get you an instruction book? Walk through the door!
  • I Can't Believe a Girl Like You Would Notice Me: Alex's opinion of Shelby having decided she loves him and isn't planning to let go of him anytime soon.
  • The Immune: All non-mammilian cryptids are immune to lycanthropy-w. This makes the Wadjet, who are snakes who can pass for human, really helpful as doctors for the infected.
    • Frances Healy is largely immune to cuckoo mind control for reasons unexplored. Her descendants acquire an immunity through family exposure to cuckoo telepathy via Grandma Angela and Cousin Sarah.
  • Improbable Antidote: There is a highly reclusive cryptid snake whose bite can literally cure anything.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Istas uses one as a covert message in "Red as Snow":
    Istas: Ryan? Are you ready to rock? (Ryan is a Tanuki, who can turn himself to stone)
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: All Johrlacs look remarkably similar when they're not using their psychic powers to make people think that they recognize them. This is explained as a byproduct of their being psychic - since they don't recognize prey or each other by visual cues, they never saw a reason to develop visual cues to distinguish themselves from each other.
  • Infant Immortality: Subverted in "The First Fall".
  • Inner Monologue:
    • Verity's narration.
    • Cousin Sarah also narrates this way.
    • As does Alex.
    • And Istas.
  • Insult of Endearment: Dominic to Verity most often.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Verity's human mother was raised by the world's first nonsociopathic cuckoo.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Uncle Mike is a human married to an ocean cryptid. The Bakers are also this, a revenant and a cuckoo. Ditto the Harringtons— human and incubus.
    • There's an entire New England town of oceangoing cryptids; some of them have human partners.
  • I Shall Taunt You: A common practice of the Price family. It will make an enemy angry enough to possibly make a mistake, it can be used to keep them talking and providing useful information while they monologue, and it's a good way to distract a bad guy and kill time until help arrives.
  • Jerkass:
    • A lot of the patrons at Dave's: drunken businessmen at a strip club acting like jerks? Who'd'a thunk?
    • The entire town the Healy farm borders on. Fran disdains them for that, but their tendency to ignore and rationalize helps keep the Healy family from gaining too much unwanted attention.
  • Knife Nut:
    • Frances Brown.
    • Verity Price.
  • Knife-Throwing Act:
    • The Fabulous Fran, before meeting Jonathan Healy.
    • Studying with The Incredible Christopher is how Verity got so good at throwing knives.
  • Knowledge Broker: Several:
    • Dave the Bogeyman for "dirt on the street" type stuff. This is apparently a specialty of the bogeyman community.
    • Verity's father for historical data and her Aunt Jane for cybergossip.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Sarah very carefully and clearly reminds Verity that tracking down a car by sight alone is not as easily done as it is on Criminal Minds.
  • Land Down Under: The Covenant took one look at Australia's native animals and collectively flipped their lids.
  • Last of His Kind:
    • William the Dragon
    • Sarah and her mother are the first, last, and possibly only of their kind, ever - non-sociopathic Johrlacs. Since they can only successfully interbreed with their own race and there aren't any non-evil male Johrlacs, it's doubtful that cuckoos with a sense of psychic etiquette will survive to another generation.
  • Le Parkour: More described as free running by Verity, distinct from Parkour.
  • Let's Dance: When Verity says this, she means it more literally than usual.
  • Loss of Identity: One variety of merfolk is born looking and behaving human. But shortly after puberty, any exposure to water will bring forth their oceangoing nature. Saltwater makes it happen faster; and the land memory erodes as fast as the sea traits return, eventually leaving a typical merperson out of myth who may only barely remember anything about those they knew and loved on dry land.
  • Magitek: Technology made just for cryptids, such as darks - the literal opposite of electric lights - for cryptids that don't deal well with light.
  • Mama Bear:
    • You do not want to get in between Frances Healy and her baby.
    • Ryan's mother, justified because their species of cryptid is endangered.
    • Charlotte Tanner, Shelby's mother, makes at least three.
  • Male Gaze:
    • Verity's hunting clothes for clubbing. Verity's work uniform at Dave's Fish and Strips. Verity's costumes for her dance competitions. All designed for maximum sex appeal.
    • Shelby also uses the male gaze to her advantage when traveling, or to make a point.
  • Masquerade: Dominic is horrified by Verity's cavalier attitude towards it; Verity promptly jumps up on a table and describes the substance of their conversation to everyone in the room. Not surprisingly, she's met with laughter and rolled eyes.
  • Metaphorgotten: Alex catches himself doing this as he comes back from having lost consciousness.
  • Mexican Standoff:
    • Fran and Jonathan in 1928.
    • Verity and Dominic in 2012.
  • Mind Control: All Cuckoos are capable of it at a nearly unconscious level.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body:
    • Invoked: while discussing lycanthropy-w.
    • Inverted: A lot of lycanthropes turn at the sight of the moon despite it not being necessary once they have been infected.
  • Mind Over Manners: Sarah and her mother developed their telepath ethics from watching Babylon 5.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Fran ended up with the circus because someone left her outside the tent. She used to hope for her Missing Mom to find her, before giving up.
    • Missing mothers (and occasionally fathers) are a commonplace happening in a town full of human-appearing merfolk. Once they reach the age of reproducing, exposure to water brings out their seabound nature, and slowly erodes their memory of life on land that Fran and Jonathan must visit.
    • As of "Broken Paper Hearts" Alice Healy loses her mother to an as-yet-undertermined cryptid attack on Valentine's eve.
    • Refreshingly averted in the present generation, as both Evelyn Price and Jane Harrington are perfectly well and living somewhere just beyond the outskirts of Portland, Oregon.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters
    • Questing Beast (Snake/Cougar)
    • Fricken (Frog/Chicken).
    • Gryphon (Raven/Maine Coon cat)
    • Garinna (Budgerigar/Tasmanian Wolf)
  • Mood Whiplash: Twice in Chaos Choreography. Used along with Switching P.O.V. in Midnight Blue Light Special to create uncertainty as to whether Verity had survived being hit in the head by her third cousin, Margaret Healy.
  • Mouse World: The attic of the Healy house, and the closet of Verity's semilegal sublet. Dollhouses and birdhouses make lovely mouse residences.
  • My Greatest Failure: Alex considers it this, but there's more to the story: Charlotte Tanner blocked his view of the Aeslin mice so he couldn't see when a member of the Thirty Six society crushed one of them to death in his hand. It was explained as the Fantastic Racism of the Aussie cryptid conservationists combined with a misunderstanding of how seriously the mice take their religion. The truth is that the one who did it would've done it anyway because he was infected, didn't want the mouse to sniff him out, and was under orders to do "whatever it takes" to remain unrevealed.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The name "Price" in universe. Cryptids know of the family's reputation and don't entirely trust it. In the same vein, pretty much any name associated with the Covenant, if you're a Price, a Cryptid, or (in the case of the Harringtons) both.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe. A number of cryptid races, and some non-Covenant cryptozoologists, still consider the Price family to be Covenant despite having broken from that organization a century before.
  • Never Split The Party: Lampshaded as undesirable but impractical when there's a lot of ground to cover, even as they do it.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Sarah doesn't worry about paying for her coffee, but she does make sure to tip the waitress...usually.
  • The Nicknamer: the Aeslin mice refer to the members of the Price-Healy family as gods and priestesses, and each member has a special title. Verity is the Arboreal Priestess, Antimony is the Precise Priestess, Fran is the Priestess of Unexpected Violence, Alex is the God of Scales and Silence, etc. These can gain retroactive tearjerker status when a posthumous divinity is applied (The God of Early Arrivals and Earlier Departures, The Violent Priestess, Who Never Learned to be Careful).
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Frequently seen with creatures like the cockatrice.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: A lot of the female cryptids have such anatomical anomalies.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Several of the cryptids in the series. But one example in particular from "Snakes and Ladders":
    Alice: You're not gonna eat me?
    Snake Man: [whose name is revealed upon proper introductions] I try not to eat anything that converses with me. It seems rude.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: If Verity sounds like she's just lost fifty IQ points and starts batting her eyes at you, run.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Bogeymen can do this as a natural talent.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • Paraphrased as the header to one of the chapters by one of Verity's ancestors, and spoken verbatim by Uncle Mike in Midnight Blue Light Special.
    • Verity and Alice both suffer this when Verity inadvertently refers to one of Alice's habits as a 'holy calling' within the hearing of the Aeslin mice.
  • "Open!" Says Me: When Frances Healy wants in, and you don't let her in, her shotgun is how she knocks (the door off its hinges).
  • Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: Justified, in that many of the cryptids in the series are of human intelligence, and know that keeping their existence secret also keeps them safe and alive.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Dragon Princesses are not the way the fairy tales would have you believe. It would give away too much to explain how.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Pun intended.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Depending on the type of ghost.
    • Rose Marshall is a road ghost, as is Mary Dunleavy. They can both become human-solid for a little while if a live person loans them clothing to wear.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Lycanthropy is not a species of cryptid. It is a cryptid mutation of rabies that can affect any mammal (Though mammals weighing less than 90 pounds or so invariably die from it before they can infect anything else). It has nothing to do with the full moon, and does not work like in the movies. It is a deadly disease and treated as deadly serious even when it is discovered that those infected, after the first couple changes, return to human intelligence. Humans thus afflicted do not become "evil" as such, but do develop short tempers and more aggressive traits as a result of their DNA and body being rewritten to wolf. Even if the humans afflicted can make provisions not to infect anyone else in their uncontrollable phase, the disease is still always fatal: mammal bodies were simply not made to be shapeshifted repeatedly, and the resultant strain on the heart and nervous system will eventually result in the victim's death.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry:
    • Midnight Blue Light Special: What's the best way to get out of a bloody cult chamber when you have neither clothes nor shoes? Get your buff Love Interest to toss you over his shoulder.
    • Pocket Apocalypse: Alex carries the much larger and complete dead weight Cooper over his shoulder after they're attacked by infected lycanthropes.
  • Papa Wolf: Riley Tanner, Shelby's father, is both overprotective and inclined to hit things that upset him. He has a really hard time dealing with Alex, despite Alex's attempts to avoid antagonizing him.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Cuckoos, aka Jhorlac, are paranoia fuel incarnate. Physically attractive, totally sociopathic mind controllers whose powers allow them to seamlessly, within seconds, write themselves into your life as though they'd always been there, and use that instant trust to destroy you completely. Bogeymen and Madhura have known about Cuckoos for a lot longer than humanity, and developed defenses against them. A mere eight cuckoos were enough to wipe out a whole generation of members of the Thirty-Six Society in Australia and took five years to eliminate. Dangerous enough that Alexander Healy broke his radio silence with the Covenant to warn them of the cuckoos' existence.
    • To a lesser extent, a number of the more physically powerful Cryptids. Sure, Istas is kind and sociable, but she can also turn into a giant bear-wolf monster capable of casually ripping a human's arm off.
    • Humans are this for Cryptids. A Waheela might be a danger, but a relatively straightforward one. Humans are devious and sturdy, with a worldwide range and a lot of cunning. Cryptids' best defense against humanity is to pretend not to exist.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: The family has code phrases for when they meet up in case of enemy traps, shapeshifting, or magic. Averted in that the passwords tend to involve complex sign-countersign pairs and avoid terms of obvious meaning to the family member involved.
  • Perpetual Poverty: The family as a whole is financially solvent.
    • Verity, though, is barely making it on her salary, because she has to pay for rent in New York, plus ammo, plus clothes damaged in her cryptid-related activities, as well as the accouterments of her ballroom dancing.
    • Alex is doing only a little better because he's living with his grandparents to help in Sarah's recuperation.
  • Photographic Memory/Genetic Memory: The Aeslin mice, who treat the family's exploits as religious events and record them as holy writ.
  • Psychic Link: Sarah has one with certain members of the family, Verity in particular.
  • Punny Name: Dave's Fish and Strips, a gentleman's club staffed almost exclusively by cryptids.
  • Reality TV: In-verse, "Dance or Die", the reality show Valerie competed on.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Not quite, but both of Verity's grandmothers look much younger than they are, in one case due to spending time in alternate dimensions with time dilations, and in the other by virtue of being a very long-lived nonhuman.
    • The dragon princesses.
  • Religion of Evil: Snake cult.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Multiple examples.
    • Played straight: The Sleestaks and the Lindworm in Verity's time period.
    • Subverted: William the Dragon and the Wadjet in Verity's time period, and Professor Naga in Fran & Jonathan's.
    • Justified: The Aeslin mice.
  • Revenge: An ongoing concern of the family regarding both cryptids and the Covenant. Betty Smith in particular wants it, and is prepared to turn Verity into a fall guy to get it.
  • Roller Derby: The sport of choice of Antimony Price, as seen in her first three short stories.
  • Sarcastic Confession: See Masquerade above.
  • Secret Identity: Valerie Pryor, competitive ballroom dancer, is Verity's public identity, making her real identity as Verity the secret one. The same is true for her brother Alex, who goes by Alex Preston.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Verity is thankful that her grandmother took shots at The Boob Fairynote  resulting in the girls of the family being modestly endowed.
    • Land of the Lost: Verity refers to an unknown creature as a Sleestak until she finds out what it really is.
    • The Bat Boy from National Enquirer fame is an actual cryptid in this 'verse.
    • Verity mentions Carmen Sandiego by way of witty banter.
    • Verity quotes the sages: "you can't always get what you want."
    • Metallica
    • Super Mario Bros.: you'll know the scene when you get to it.
    • The Incredibles: Verity specifically calls out the villain for monologuing.
    • The two cuckoos in the family are Angela Baker and Sarah Zellaby, referencing Angela Zellaby from The Midwich Cuckoos. This, like their psi-etiquette, chosen from Babylon 5, is an in-universe character choice.
    • An obscure reference to another filker: "Emerald Green" is a Pegasus-winning song. The writer of "Emerald Green" also has a song about a Siren making a living as a singer.
    • Dire Straits: Verity invokes "Money for Nothing" when having to talk to Candy about something.
    • Because Antimony reads a lot of comics, she refers to one of Verity's moves as "pulling a Gwen Stacy".
    • Super Chicken: "you knew the job was dangerous when you took it" is paraphrased here as it was in Newsflesh, making it double as Creator In-Joke.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Verity's way of winning an argument with Dominic. Dominic does the same to Verity later in the story, but just to genuinely get her to stop talking.
  • Snark Knight: Pretty much the default mode of a Healy or Price starting a fight is hurling disorienting insults at their opponent. Verity invokes Spider-Man as the patron saint of her style of combat.
  • Spy Catsuit: Verity has one for slinking stealthily around the rooftops at night.
  • Squick: Dominic's reaction to seeing Sarah do first aid on him.
    • Verity's hinted-at description of Tooth Fairy feeding habits.
    • Verity's description of Gorgon hygiene involving head-snake waste elimination.
  • Survivor Guilt: Raina suffers this over something she really couldn't have foreseen or controlled. the Johrlac invasion that ended up killing her older brother Jack. It gets worse when Gabby takes off, upset after developments in the case.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Sarah takes over narration duties in Midnight Blue-Light Special for a few chapters after Verity is knocked unconscious and taken prisoner by the Covenant.
  • Taken for Granite: Basilisks.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Dominic isn't exactly tall - he is compared to Verity but Verity barely tops five feet barefoot - but he's described as dark-complected and her sarcasm quickly rubs off on him (he is himself inclined to dry, sarcastic humor as his primary mode).
  • Tanuki: Ryan, the bouncer at Dave's, is one.
  • Tarot Troubles: Inverted. Fran asks Juniper to read her fortunes and to tell her that her dead child's soul is resting easy.
  • Telepathy: Natural talent for the cuckoos.
  • They Fight Crime: She's a ballroom dancer slash strip club waitress! He's a church-trained uptight guy with no clue about the way of the world. They hunt dangerous cryptids!
  • They Would Cut You Up: Strongly implied to be the Covenant's method of "study" when dealing with and capturing a cryptid they have little knowledge on.
  • Thicker Than Water: Some cryptids don't care; the rest really care. The various Healys think this way for their immediate relatives, but not for their distant cousins in the Covenant - they might share blood if you look back four generations, but they are not family.
  • Time Skip:
    • Fran and Jon's timeline to Verity's. This gap might close eventually though, as the 'past' stories have moved onto the next generation, Alice Healy and Thomas Price.
    • From the prologue of Discount Armageddon to the first chapter.
    • This may end up being a series-wide trope as Midnight Blue Light Special opens the same way. Ditto Half-Off Ragnarok. The epilogue also does a six week time skip.
  • Title In: Each chapter begins with a location and status check for Verity and Alex.
    • Fran's stories each begin with a date and location check.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kevin Price paraphrases the trope in the heading for Chapter 9.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Be prepared for a raucous cheer if you offer the Aeslin mice CHEESE AND CAKE!!!
    • There's a yowie in Australia who takes TimTams as payment. Heaven help you if you forget them.
  • Training from Hell: The Price family begins raising children from the moment they can walk to protect themselves and handle random situations including:
    • The family habitually chloroforms all the kids, throws them in the trunk, drives a roundabout route to a random destination, dumps them there, and expects them to find their way home.
    • The family sets pit traps for the children while they are elementary school age.
  • Unicorn: Amongst the cryptids encountered by the families, and the reason for their schism with the Covenant.
  • Unwanted False Faith: Professor Naga's opinion about the snake cults. He's not a god, isn't pretending to be a god, and doesn't want to be a god.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: "Broken Paper Hearts" tells the story of Alice's first school-age Valentine's day.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The Covenant's modus operandi, and the source of their conflict with the Prices.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Alex speculates that it was Charlotte Tanner who taught eldest daughter Shelby to hide brass knuckles unobtrusively in her bra.
  • Virgin Power: Why so many female cryptids are vanishing in Discount Armageddon.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Snake cults tend to think this important.
  • Weirdness Censor: What cryptids, and those close to them, count on humans doing — rationalizing away any inhuman or other weirdness, such as a church griffin flying overhead.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Covenant
  • Yowies and Bunyips and Drop Bears, Oh My: The Covenant was so appalled by the Everything Is Trying to Kill You nature of Australian wildlife that they tried to purge the entire ecosystem. This is why the Thirty Six Society threw them out.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/InCryptid