Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin

MartinDeadlyCuriositiesWhy I Read It: Urban fantasy and antiques, how could I say no?

Where I Got It: A review copy from the publisher via NetGalley (thanks!)

Who I Recommend This To: Fans of ghosts, antiques, and items steeped in emotional resonance would enjoy this book.

Publisher: Solaris (2014)

Length: 454 pages

Series: Book 1 Deadly Curiosities

Author’s Page

Cassidy’s family has run Trifles & Folly, an antique shop in Charleston, South Carolina, since 1670. Cassidy’s business partner, Sorren (a Nordic vampire several centuries old), has worked with Cassidy’s family all that time, assisting them in tracking down and neutralizing dangerous magical and supernatural items. Cassidy’s employee, Teag (a man who has all but the PhD in history and some martial arts skills) has been brought into the know. Some mundane items start going spooky, and Cassidy and crew soon have their hands full with mysterious deaths, Shadow men, vicious supernatural hounds, and a scarred, withered man who may be behind it all.

This was a fast-paced urban fantasy with a twist: antiques. So, lots of history was tossed into the mix, and I loved it. Indeed, I had a hard time putting this book down. It was easy to get into, easy to connect with the characters, and plenty of fun to watch them battle supernatural beasties, a demon, and a determined mad man. I thoroughly enjoyed how the tale pulled in historical aspects of the local area and smoothly blended them with made up ‘facts’ for the sake of the plot. There’s an old Navy yard that becomes a focal point for the mystery of the story, complete with a history of shady business deals, slavery, and pirates.

Cassidy herself is well-rounded, having both strengths and weaknesses, concerns and confidence. She and the other main characters have to deal with getting injured, protecting each other’s backs, and eating regularly. There are few superhumans among this crew, and even Sorren (the vampire) has limitations. I enjoyed that Sorren was just another character – not some evil, icky bad guy, nor some romanticized love interest. Then we have Teag, and to some lesser extent, his partner Anthony. Teag was in the thick of things for most of the story, and Anthony put in a few appearances, trying hard to accept what Teag does for a living. I can definitely see these two being featured more heavily in future additions of the series. Lucinda, a local voudoun witch (or practitioner) calls upon the Loas for her brand of magic, offering the crew another layer of defense. And of course, her presence made it simple to pull in a few more bits of history.

As the story moves forward, a few more characters are brought in, so by the end you have a sizable list. But it was done very well, pacing the entrance of the characters throughout the book so I didn’t feel that I was ever overloaded with new characters, scrambling to keep them straight. My one little complaint is the final fight scene: I was pretty darn sure that some of the good guys had taken out one of the bad guys, only to have the bad guy rise two pages later to continue wreaking havoc. I reread the section 3 times and didn’t feel there was a clear transition. Perhaps the author wanted the reader to be surprised…..but the good guys didn’t seem surprised. Anyway, that is a very small criticism and it won’t keep me from reading further works by this author.

What I Liked:  Lots of historical tidbits; plenty of paranormal baddies that function within a set framework; the cover; Teag and Anthony; the vampire is not a love interest; Cassidy is a well-rounded character.

What I Disliked:  One minor thing about the final fight scene – but not a big deal.

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OnceUponATime8Tis the season for fantasy in all forms. Join the reading challenge Once Upon A Time, hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. You can catch my intro post to this year’s challenge over HERE. Anyone can join this event, which runs from March 21 – June 20, 2014.

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