After reading a great review from Kimberly @Caffeinated Reader blog, I was eager to try this one. I was already a fan of the Kate Daniels series by the author and love their blend of worldbuilding, action plots, and slower developing character plots.
Clean Sweep is the first book in a series so it had the job of introduction and providing a compelling story. I like how they steadily revealed the characters and the Innkeeper world. It’s an interesting blend of sci-fi and urban fantasy.
The story opens with Dina Demille the Innkeeper of her newly reopened inn discovering that something large and predatory has begun eviscerating and eating the neighborhood dogs of her small Texas suburban town. Her first guess is the handsome and fit werewolf who claims the neighborhood as his turf, but Sean Evans is as mystified as she is. He doesn’t even seem to know who or what she is even when she has to use magic against him.
Dina’s job and priority is the care of the Inn and her sole guest, but she is well aware the attacks will escalate and eventually go after the vulnerable humans around her. She will not stand by and watch it happen even if other innkeepers would. Sean is not one to let it go, either. They work together and figure out just what they are up against even as she brings Sean up to speed on just how much bigger and badder his world really is.
Soon, the trouble escalates when a clan of vampires gets involved and Dina realizes she is in deeper than she knew. With the aid of her inn, her trusty broom, her Shih Tzu dog, and the two alpha males who insist on treating her as fragile, they prepare to do battle with the predator and his beasts wrecking havoc.
Alright, the story grabbed my attention from the beginning. I enjoyed the characters, the fun elements of the world particularly the whimsical and possibly sentient inn itself. The conflict was formidable and posed trouble, but I confess that I was more interested in Dina and her world, Sean, the galaxy of interesting people out there, and of course the vampires.
There was mild lag, but I expected it since Clean Sweep had the job of introducing matter. I do hope the broader mystery of what happened to Dina’s parents and her ongoing efforts to gain higher rating for her inn will continue to be addressed in the series. The opening relationships and hint of attraction and resistance between the three main parties was a good hook. I found Dina’s permanent inn guest a hoot and hope the duchess is around for more.
I chose audio format for this one and was tickled to experience Renee Raudman’s narration for the first time. She did a bang up job. I loved how she brought Dina alive for me. The subtle, dry wit of the story was brought out under her capable storytelling as was the excitement of the action scenes. Her character voices and accents were well done. I would definitely listen to more of her work.
All in all, it was a great start and promises to only get better. Fans of the author pair, of sci-fi, and of urban fantasy should definitely give this book/series a try.
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