Seattle, Washington, 2010
Seattle, Washington: Grunge Capital of the World, Gateway to Alaska, home of the Seahawks, and of course, the center of the northwestern United States' paranormal underworld. McBride may claim to have been raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest, but we're willing to bet that there's more to the selection of Seattle as the book's setting than mere author biography.
For one thing, Seattle's laidback lifestyle provides a sharp contrast to the world of werewolves and zombies lurking in its midst. Sam says:
You can pick any spot in Seattle, close your eyes, spin around, and odds are pretty good you'll be pointing at some sort of coffee shop, hut, or shack when you stop. (4.82)
Sounds like a pretty normal place, not to mention a great city to grab a latte. Not only that, but the weather's nothing to write home about either. "If you've lived in Seattle for any length of time, you carry a jacket," Sam explains. "You get used to the moody weather and give up on umbrellas" (8.1). Moody weather, eh? Seems kind of fitting for a necromancer community.
The mundane nature of Seattle as an external setting provides a perfect foil for the bizarreness going on in the paranormal community. Amid the relatively normal setting lurks a den of werewolves, Douglas's enormous castle with its torture chamber of a basement, and regular, average people who leave their homes one day to become fodder for Douglas's experiments and manipulation (not to mention zombies and disembodied heads). Seattle might look like a pretty everyday place, but beware the darkness that lurks under the surface.
One last thought about setting: could Seattle's rich musical heritage have anything to do with McBride's choice to name the chapters after songs from the 1970s and 80s? We don't know for sure, but it's possible that the hometown of Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain had something to do with what she did there.