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Literature: InCryptid
Creative camouflage for the modern urban cryptozoologist.

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; Antimony, still studying; and Verity, who wants to forgo the family business and be a ballroom dancer, but has to prove to the family she can survive on her own first.

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

  • Jonathan Healy and Frances Brown, 1928: (currently readable on the author's webpage)
    • Short Story: The Flower of Arizona
    • Short Story: One Hell of A Ride
    • Short Story: No Place Like Home
    • Short Story: Married in Green
    • Short Story: Sweet Poison Wine
    • Short Story: The First Fall
    • Short Story: Loch and Key
    • Short Story: We Both Go Down Together

  • The Price Family, 2012 to present:
    • Novel: Discount Armageddon
    • Novel: Midnight Blue-Light Special
    • Short Story: Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea (appearing in the anthology book Carniepunk)
    • Short Story: Bad Dream Girl starring Antimony (appearing in the anthology book Glitter and Mayhem)
    • Novel: Half-Off Ragnarok,
    • Short Story: The Ghosts of Bourbon Street, on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Novel: Pocket Apocalypse, TBA
    • Novel: Professional Gore-eography, TBA

  • The Cryptids, Present Day:
    • Short Story: Red as Snow starring Istas and Ryan(appears in anthology Fiction River: Hex and the City)
    • Short Story: Black as Blood 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.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: One of the cultist guys ruffles Verity's hair affectionately while monologuing about how helpless she is.
  • All There in the Manual: There's a guide to cryptids known to the families on the author's webpage.
  • 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.
    • Dragon blood
    • Johrlac blood
    • Tooth fairy dust
  • 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.
  • 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 Justin Time to save Verity.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: The Price family, human or not, could give Shaggy and Scooby a run for their money.
    • Sarah: who likes Ketchup and tonic water, among other odd combinations. This is also true for her mother.
    • Antimony: who likes Captain Crunch on cold pizza.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Dragons and wadjets have a really extreme case of this.
  • Blank White Eyes: Sarah gets them when using her abilities.
  • Bridal Carry: No romance involved, just one therianthrope looking out for another.
  • 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, and Rose Marshall herself shows up in the short story "The Ghosts of Bourbon Street."
  • Chameleon Camouflage: The Sleestaks, as well as several other cryptids.
  • 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:
  • Cult: Humans who think they'll get power by messing with/sacrificing cryptids.
  • Dance Battler/Kick Chick: Verity Price.
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Dominic does not close his eyes fast enough when Verity tells him to.
  • Dating Catwoman: Verity and Dominic. And another case from a couple generations earlier is mentioned.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Verity, Dominic, and Sarah all have a rather pleasant conversation with the ancient dragon beneath Manhattan.
  • 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.
  • Dumb Blonde: Verity objects to having her hair taken as indicating her intelligence.
  • 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.
  • Escape Artist: Part of the Healy and Price family training.
  • Evil Gloating: The cultists, to Verity.
  • Facebook: One of the ways Verity uses to determine how sentient a cryptid is.
  • Famous Last Words: Considered a bad idea by the family in general, too much like Tempting Fate.
  • Flipping the Bird: It's New York. There's a strip bar. It's gonna happen.
  • Geometric Magic: Circles of protection help to defend homes and campsites against certain cryptids. The circles also require specific ingredients in some cases.
  • Heroic BSOD: Cousin Sarah after stopping the badguys in Midnight Blue Light Special in a way that would keep those endangered safe.
    • Fran and Jonathan in "The First Fall"
  • Honorary Uncle: Verity's Uncle Mike isn't related to her, but his family and the Prices have been friends for several generations.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: from "Red as Snow"
    Istas: Ryan? Are you ready to rock? (Ryan is a Tanuki, who can turn himself to stone).
  • 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.
  • Jerkass: A lot of the patrons at Dave's.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mouse World: The attic of the Healy house, and the closet of Verity's semilegal sublet. Dollhouses and birdhouses make lovely mouse residences.
  • 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.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Sarah doesn't worry about paying for her coffee, but she does make sure to tip the waitress...usually.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: frequently seen with creatures like the cockatrice.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: A lot of the female cryptids have such anatomical anomalies.
  • 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.
  • Our Monsters Are Different
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: 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.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: The family has code phrases for when they meet up in case of enemy traps, shapeshifting, or magic.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Disappeared Dad: See Missing Mom, below. There's also the fact that Verity's grandfather is missing, making him disappeared dad to her mother.
    • 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 saltwater brings out their seabound nature, and slowly erodes their memory of life on land that Fran and Jonathan must visit.
  • 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 accoutrements 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.
  • 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: Subverted. The lindworm and the Sleestaks are bad, but William the Dragon is not.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • and her description of Gorgon hygiene involving head-snake waste elimination.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Time Skip:
    • Fran and Jon's timeline to Verity's.
    • 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.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Be prepared for a raucous cheer if you offer the Aeslin mice CHEESE AND CAKE!!!
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The Covenant's modus operandi, and the source of their conflict with the Prices.
  • Virgin Power: Why so many female cryptids are vanishing.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Snake cults tend to think this important.
  • Well Intentioned Extremists: The Covenant of St. George.

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