Reviewed by May
I was always one of those kids who got labeled with an “overactive imagination” because I always thought I saw trolls under bridges, fairies in the garden, gargoyles on the rooftops, and all those fanciful things. Things started to get rough when my mother died…
Gayle, the stepmonster as I came to think of her, convinced everyone that my imagination was a product of hallucinations and pathology. Next came a parade of diagnoses: delusional, bipolar, and schizo affective disorders… even, briefly, schizophrenia. There were drugs, combinations, therapies, and stints in and out of hospitals.
Somehow I survived long enough to graduate high school.
I learned to ignore what I saw, and to never, ever talk about it.
All of her life, Alexandra Connor has been persecuted and alone, that is until she met Valentine. He always made her magic feel like a gift, and made her feel safe. After a run-in with her stepmother, she found herself forcefully separated from him. She was told by therapists that he was enabling her, that he was causing her to have more problems, and so she up and left Chicago.
Now she’s now in Pierre, South Dakota and has just been elected coroner. She ran for the job on a dare (it’s an elected office there) because she could really use the money – and now it’s time to get to work. She does have some medical school under her belt and can handle it- that is until things get unnatural.
Precinct 13 is the local office of police officers of the magical realm. They keep things out of the public eye, and solve the crimes that regular police wouldn’t believe – and couldn’t handle. Those working there are magical – from witches to fairies to vampires – and Alex has to explain how a corpse just got up and walked out.
The big difference this time, is that the people not only believe her, but encourage her to talk about magic, and they work together to both figure out this case and find out just what kind of magical being Alex is.
“My past is off limits,” I snapped at her. My fists scrunched so hard that my fingernails cut into my palms.
“Not if it has to do with magic,” Jones said. “Then you’d better tell us about it.”
“I can’t,” I struggled to say, my throat tightening. “I’m not supposed to talk about any of that.”
“Not supposed to?” Jack looked at the two cops and then to me. “Who told you that you couldn’t talk about magic?”
I glared at him. Was he serious? I nearly shouted, “Everyone! In case you ahven’t noticed spells and necromancer and glowing eyes are not part of normal conversation.”
“They are around here,” Jack assured me with a patient smile.
Stone nodded encouragingly. “You can tell us. We’ll understand. Magic is our job.”
This is the first book in what will hopefully be a new series from Tate Hallaway. On her website it does not promise more books – I truly hope there will be. As a stand-alone UF it was a lot of fun and a fairly satisfying read, but I really want to know so much more about the stepmonster as well as the officers of Precinct 13 and it is set up perfectly to be book one of a series.
I won’t give away more of the story, because it was a lot of fun for me reading to unraveling the mystery as well as discovering more about our main character and her friends. I will tell you a bit more about my opinion on this book though. I really liked the set-up and I was really into our heroine who has had someone else up inside her head for so long, telling her she’s wrong – and now she gets to break out and be free. Not just that – but she’ll be investigating and fighting crime along with other magically gifted people. I felt like the balance of her being new to the true magical realm, along with discovering her abilities was really well done. She wasn’t suddenly kickass, but she was clearly a strong young woman with potential just being discovered.
One big thing that could be a deal breaker for some of you is that this is in no way what I would call a romance-UF. I’d consider is straight Urban Fantasy. The sex that is in this book happens off page, we’re just told that it is there. It is not the focus of the book clearly, she does have a romantic interest but he doesn’t sound like a viable option. Our heroine actually has the thought of setting up with another man for when her boyfriend disappears as he always does.
I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get more from this book. I wanted a deeper look into Alex, I didn’t like that she hopped from “magic isn’t real” to “team magic!” in a few pages without any real internal struggle, and really I just wished for more all-around from this book. She is so damaged and has had so many therapists in her head, I really would have liked to see more from that instead of just having it glossed over and having her jump on board.
The mystery wasn’t much of one, and the end was a bit odd with the final hour twists and developments, but overall it really was a fun read and I really enjoyed this author’s writing style. Assuming this becomes a series, I will be first in line to gobble up the next installment and see what turns up next at Precinct 13…