Just when I think this author’s creative mind couldn’t possibly come up with any more new and creatively bizarre story lines to entice, the new release comes out and I’m plunged yet again into the darkest things that the world of supernatural Victorian London has to offer.
The stories really must be read in sequential order and for those who haven’t read the previous books this one might have series spoilers in it. This story plunges into the lives of two recurring side characters from the series, the enigmatic shifter, Jack Talent and the equally mysterious GIM, Mary Chase. This one was a long one, but each page was well worth it as the story teased out a complicated, dangerous action plot and the tension-filled and much of the time painful relationship and character development side of the plot.
There is a prologue of the first occasion that Jack and Mary meet that ends badly. Then it skips to a point in time much later and after the events of Winterblaze. Jack no longer works for Ian Ranulf and is now SOS and Mary is also SOS and chomping at the bit to be out on her first case instead of acting as Poppy’s secretary. Jack is still so very wounded from the violation the demons perpetrated on his body that all he can think of is revenge. Mary suspects that Jack is The Bishop who has been killing and leaving demon bodies in a very public place. He has been so condescending and cruel to her over the years for the little charade she perpetrated with her friend, Julian Stone, and because she is GIM that she sees this as her big chance to catch him in the act and expose him.
Jack hurts at the very sight of Mary Chase, the female he can never have. He has kept her at arms length for years over the guilt and disgust he feels. She can never know what he has done in the past or she’ll truly have reason to hate him. Now, he is forced to accept her as his partner on the Bishop case.
Beyond what is going on with Jack and Mary and the Bishop case, some other powerful evil is working in the shadows and indications are that they plan to take down Jack Talent. More people and supernaturals are dying and evidence points to Jack.
Working as Jack Talent’s partner is excruciating at first and then Mary gets to really see the real Jack and it disturbs her. Things aren’t black and white anymore. Her quest in the beginning becomes muddled. She starts to see that there is something worthy under all that tortured, anger that he shows to the world, but then secrets come out that have her scrambling as far away as she can get even while Jack’s enemies draw ever closer. Others are pulled in by the evil that stalks the dark and it will take the ultimate sacrifice to stop it before it is too late. Mary and Jack must find a way to work together to stand a chance at coming out on top, but only one will be coming back.
So yes, this was one incredible ride. There was quite a bit of set up that left me thoroughly confused as to what was really going on or had going on which is par for the course with this series. The long set up wasn’t boring. There was still tons of tension and clues about Jack and Mary and those sudden scenes of danger.
Even when snapping and snarling at each other (which I admit got irritating at times), these two made a great team. I loved the slow reveal of their personalities that were just so much more than what we got when they first set out on the case together. They both had a lot to learn about things being so much more than they appear. They both had hard past lives and I just felt so bad when it all started coming out. Jack had such a great capacity to love and love both fiercely and tenderly even though he didn’t feel he deserved to receive it back. He distanced himself form his adopted family and Mary for that reason. Mary held herself back from feeling things after being attacked by those men and worked hard to remain aloof. She has to learn to trust again and I loved how she trusted in the face of so many facts and feelings telling her otherwise when it came to Jack.
I also enjoyed those strong side scenes with Holly Evernight. My heart ached for her and what she had to do to survive. I really hope that her book is coming next the way things were left there at the end.
Another tantalizing story that I hope gets expanded eventually is Adam. That mysterious scene with him and his new GIM have me eager to know what that was all about.
And as always, the reunion with Ian and Daisy and Winston and Poppy was nice.
So another great installment in the series that I wanted to savor slowly, but ended up devouring quickly because I just had to know what happened next. Those who enjoy steamy Historical Paranormal Romance should definitely jump on this series.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.