Rune Gate by Mark E. Cooper

CooperRuneGateWhere I Got It: Review copy from the author (thanks!).

Publisher: Impulse Books UK (2014)

Narrator: Mikael Narammore

Length: 7 hours 12 minutes

Series: Book 1 Rune Gate Cycle

Author’s Page

Alex Yorke is a Witch and also a police consultant. She recently returned from Los Angeles to her grandparents’ farm to give her psyche a rest. Assisting police track down murderers has taken it’s toll. She would like to simply turn off her clairvoyant abilities for a while, but, alas, that is not to be. The local police department is already knocking on her door to help track down a sadistic killer.  The reader (or listener) is in for a hell of a ride!

This story is a fun mix of urban fantasy and police procedural. On one side we have the local police. Thomas is the guy in charge, and a former lover of Alex’s. Jen is his deputy, and a friend to Alex. On the other side, we have the Wiccans and witches. Douglas is a mysterious man that Alex literally ran in to. He is one of a very few that can shield his thoughts from Alex. Michael is the head of a Wiccan coven, Silver Mist, and he and his fellow believers lend Alex a hand. As you can see, Alex is right smack in the middle of everyone. The mix of the fantastical with grounded detective techniques was very satisfying.

Alex herself was an interesting mix. She walks into the story fully formed. She has a past – past lovers, past college, past jobs, past residence. The reader learns bits and pieces of her past as we move through the story. She’s trained as a cop, studied to be a scientist, and yet has this clairvoyant ability. Unfortunately, she has had no one to train her and has never learned how to shut off overhearing other’s thoughts. And it becomes incredibly worse if a person touches her. So, no snuggles for her.

I put Alex in her mid to late 20s. Perhaps 60-70% of the book, she acts her age. However, throughout the narrative she loses her cool, gnashes her teeth, lashes out at folks, screeches, etc. It’s all rather dramatic. She cries and occasionally screams or has some melt down. Much of these instances can be explained by her lack of control of her abilities and the incredible stress of tracking down a killer. But I did tire of it. Quickly. Really, this is my only complaint about the book – the punctuated drama surrounding Alex and her witchy abilities. The opening scene, where Alex taps into the last memories of the now deceased and mutilated murder victim, made it pretty clear how horrible the experience is for Alex. But she continues to have various anger management problems throughout the story. It was right on that cusp of too much. Oh, and Alex is a babe and we get to know that right up front. Apparently, she is hot enough to be a super model. And this is important to the plot and her worth as a character…..in some nebulous way.

Now, setting that aside, I quite enjoyed the other characters. Douglas doesn’t show up until nearly half way through the tale. He’s got a lovely accent and has some antiquated ideas. Yep. Didn’t see that twist coming. However, he is a calming force to Alex, helping balance out the story.

The plot line was full of hunts and losses, more bodies keep turning up. The police are mystified by certain aspects of the murders. Plus there is some jurisdictional issues between county and city cops. I liked the mix of action, grumpy pissing matches, and certain characters building friendships. Now the ending! So intense! And it is a cliff hanger, so you need to be ready to jump into Book 2, Chosen, right away. And I plan to do just that!

Narration: Mikael Naramore was a good choice for this book. He does a very believable angry Alex. He also gives Douglas his lovely accent. For Thomas he has a gruff, older cop voice. I especially liked his voices for the evil bad guys.

What I Liked:  Great mix of police procedural and urban fantasy; Douglas is a good, calming influence on Alex; Douglas’s origins were an unforeseen twist; intense ending; ready to jump into Book 2. 

What I Disliked: Alex is a borderline drama queen; Alex’s looks seem to be really important.

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