Read the blurb on this one and I was tantalized by the fact that these are not going to be white-hatted heroes and black-hatted villains, but people with flaws, weaknesses, strengths, and maybe a bit of redemption. Dark, gritty and intense- I’m so in the mood.
It’s an anthology so I’ll take each story separate with some quick thoughts as I go.
Marion, Missing by Rachel Caine
In the spirit of the hard-boiled detective stories of the past set in the 50’s, this was one I couldn’t put down. Warren Valentine, the private detective who just lost his partner, reluctantly agrees to continue her case because it is his murdered partner’s ghost who makes the request. Vivid, authentic narrative voice and gritty atmosphere and setting along with a lost love make
this one a most satisfying read.
Femme Fatale by Cynthia Eden
A Private Investigator and a lady vampire hunt for a killing vampire together. But the lady vamp has secrets, too.
Another solid story that captivated from the get-go. Felt more paranormal than noir, but still worked as a good mystery that kept me unsure to the end.
Dance With the Devil by Megan Hart
Now this is a riveting tale. A woman who must do every devilish task because he owns her soul. Then she falls in love and the cost of keeping Jake may be too high.
It’s not pretty, but it is a compelling story or a cleaned up, romanticized Devil. Engaging to the last surprising scene. Now I want to read the earlier story, Ride With the Devil.
The Consort by Suzanne Johnson
A Hunt Club Novella/World of the Sentinels of New Orleans
A lovely, innocent fae girl ends up in the middle of a power struggle in the fae court and it is only the Captain of the Fae Hunters sent to bring her in that can save her from a cruel fate.
This was my first time experiencing the Sentinels of New Orleans world and it will not be the last. Engaging story! Love the characters especially.
Heart's Blood by Jeffe Kennedy
Story of the Twelve Kingdoms
A sorrowful tale of an innocent, young princess forced to switch places with her betraying handmaiden and watch her betrothed, Prince Cavan, accept the deception.
This one was an interesting blend of coarseness and fantasy, gentle love and lust, betrayal and honor. I definitely want to read the other stories in the Twelve Kingdoms series, now.
The Djinn in the Mirror by Mina Khan
A Djinn World story
A Cinderella story of sorts. Dahlia is in the control of her evil step-father, a powerful blood witch, and her only hope is to call out the djinn in the mirror to protect her in exchange for his freedom. Ashmael is bitter and distrustful, but agrees to the deal for the chance to be free and maybe exact some revenge. He soon realizes that Dahlia is an innocent and he has a strange desire to protect her.
I enjoy stories in the author’s djinn world. This one was intense in the dealings in the human world, but left things open-ended toward the situation in the djinn world. I would like to know what comes of that.
All in all, this was a fantastic set of stories. I loved the variety and creativity. The authors had a great sense of tone, setting, plot, and characters. I look forward to pursuing more stories from this group of mostly new to me authors. I would recommend this anthology for those who enjoy darker, grittier paranormal romance.
My thanks to the authors for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.