Stumbling across a being from the world of Elphame, a mugging victim in New York City, student librarian Ruth Marlowe and her friends learn that the muggers stole a magical sword that changes mortals into Grendel-like monsters. Original.
At first, I didn't like any of the characters except RM - the stranger in an even stranger land. They didn't seem to ring true, their speech patterns or something didn't seem right for their ages, or maybe they didn't behave as my college friends and I did. But gradually, once the background of some of the characters was revealed, their behavior became more understandable, given their flaws. (Though I still found myself checking the copyright date a couple of times.) There was still a little too much pretentious quoting and epigram-throwing for them to be believable, but I guess the author had to get it out of her system. The mugger who wound up with the sword was a tragic character, slowly taking that one extra step at a time that was leading him away from his dreams.
I wasn't all that happy with the ending until I realized that it was just the set-up for the sequel, which I will try to read. It was an interesting book, worth reading, but the characters could have been a little less stereotypical.
Okay, that being said, this book struck me with a strong sense of deja-vu. Many years ago I encountered a book called THE GLOVE OF MAIDEN'S HAIR. The book, by Michael Friedman, is about an elf-lord magically transported to a modern-day city. He's the one who rescues the heroine from muggers, but there is a lot of this story that parallels. The style and the emotional quality and the actual stories themselves are very different, but if you liked this you might want to see if you can find a copy of THE GLOVE OF MAIDEN'S HAIR, it's a little dated, but worth a read.