Series: SPI Files #1
Format Read: paperback
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: December 31, 2013
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble
Blurb from goodreads:
We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us
When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out—usually saving my skin in the process.
Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.
One of the cover blurbs describes the book as a mix of Stephanie Plum, the X-Files and tequila mixed in a blender; that's a fair description. Except that Mac is smarter than Stephanie and more on the ball and her family is, so far anyway, less dysfunctional than Stephanie's and her love life is decidedly less so. No love triangle! *happy dance!* :D
So, now that I've said what it isn't, what is it? A mix of standard urban fantasy elements, mystery, and delightful new elements - grendels and a nice uptake on mythology, a new take on seers, and a creative use of dragons. I'm a big fan of mystery blended with urban fantasy and I love mythology so this book appealed to me from the get-go. Shearin has humor, action, a sometimes overly twisty plot, and interesting characters. The story dragged a little, especially in the middle, but overall I enjoyed it. I liked that Mac wasn't a kick-ass, super-skilled heroine; she's untrained in defense and mostly untrained in weapons but she wants to learn and she's skilled in research. She's also quirky, funny, makes mistakes, smart, and unwilling to sit on the sidelines despite her job description. Ian, her partner, is more stoic and less developed but he has potential and I loved their draconic boss, Vivienne. SPI is an organization that also has potential; a secret, private organization that polices supernaturals and keeps knowledge of those same supernaturals from humans. It's a cross between Men in Black and the supernatural council in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld.
The story doesn't take itself too seriously, there are several characters who are not white which makes for a nice change from many urban fantasy books, and potential for many mythological beings from around the world. "The Grendel Affair" is a good start to a new series and I'll be looking for the next book.
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