Thursday, July 3, 2014

Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z Martin

The Basics:
Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z Martin
Book One in a new urban fantasy series
Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Published June 22, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

The cover hooked me - the artwork reminds me of Rob Thurman's Leandros series. Plus I generally love urban fantasy and am always on the lookout for new authors in that genre to read.

Book Blurb:

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, a store with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670 – acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500-year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market.
When a trip to a haunted hotel unearths a statue steeped in malevolent power, and a string of murders draws a trail to the abandoned old Navy yard, Cassidy and Sorren discover a diabolical plot to unleash a supernatural onslaught on their city.

It’s time for Kincaide and her team to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up. 

My thoughts:

I really wanted to love this one because it starts off like a really great urban fantasy novel should.

There's some wonderful concepts around objects absorbing memories and magic. I quite enjoyed the flashback trips that Cassidy experienced, and that in the present, she's often screaming or shouting or generally reacting rather than always blanking out.

I loved Teag, Cassidy's sidekick, though he felt a little superpowered at times between his ability to 'weave data' and magic, his big brain and his marital arts prowess. It was all a little too much for me, but he was so likeable that he won me over.

Sorren, the vampire patron in the background, was a bit of a novelty as far as vampires go. I thought he might prove to be a love interest for Cassidy, and while perhaps that might bear out over the course of the series, he was very much in the mode of protective benefactor in this book. A lot of fretting over Cassidy's mortality and brooding over the past. I want to know more about him.

The lack of a real romantic sideplot in this book really threw me - they're very common in urban fantasy and I find that subplot provides some relief from what are otherwise normally pretty dark stories.

Deadly Curiosities does have some genuinely creepy moments. I was reading the historical society section late at night, and kept grabbing my husband's arm and squealing as the scene progressed. Very atmospheric, great ghost story!

Now for the not so good - I think this book suffers a little on pacing. There's a bit of structural repetition - work the day job, recap what we know, investigate at night, something bad happens, return home to fit this new piece into the puzzle, rinse and repeat.  There was a lot of time given over to discussing the investigation - and a lot of repetition of Teag or Sorren assuring Cassidy that they'd chase down a new lead electronically or with their sources.  I understand that this made some amount of sense, but it made for some slow reading.

Bottom line:

Deadly Curiosities is a good start to a new urban fantasy series, and despite some slow pacing at points, I'm in for sequels.

4 stars
For fans of urban fantasy, Charleston, ghost stories

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