Read Recently — July 2015 — Urban Fantasy

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

The latest Mercy Thompson novel begins with the Pack cleaning up after Sunday breakfast when Adam’s ex-wife, Christy, calls. She is being stalked by a violent man who assaulted her and may have killed a sometime boyfriend of hers, and she needs refuge. Seems simple enough, and if a pack of werewolves can’t run off a stalker then no one can. On the other hand, Mercy’s position in the Pack isn’t exactly secure and some of the female werewolves would welcome Christy running her off (they don’t really understand that there is zero percent chance of that happening).

To further complicate things, Mercy receives a late night visit from a person introducing themself as Alister Beauclair, who is actually the Fae Grey Lord also known as Gwyn ap Lugh (previously seen in Fair Game (here ) and he has come to reclaim the walking stick that Mercy was loaned by a fae some time ago and which she has been trying to give back since (it keeps coming back to her). Mercy doesn’t have it now, though: she gave it to Coyote for safekeeping after using it to kill something (this whole sequence of Mercy using the stick to kill something and then giving it to Coyote, meeting other changers of the same type as her along the way seems to have happened in a book I not only haven’t written up but actually haven’t read; I shall have to look into that), and of course she can’t get hold of Coyote easily. Beauclair gives her a week before he shall return for the stick and if she doesn’t have it, well, he might have to take steps.

And then Mercy’s police friend/contact Tony asks her to come out and look at a really gory crime scene; the cops believe it to be a werewolf killing but she can tell it’s not and tells them so. Is there something new in the area? Some hunter that is not any of the recognized species we have encountered so far? Then Mercy notices that there are several dead women at the scene, and they all look at least a little like Christy. Could there be more to her stalker than meets the eye?

AS I mentioned last time, the plots are getting more and more complicated, as more and more past elements must be included and, of course, something new must also be introduced. It’s still a fun read, and I’m continuing to look forward to more. I’m actually surprised this isn’t a TV series yet.

Recommended.

The Dragon Conspiracy: a SPI files novel by Lisa Shearin

Sequel to The Grendel Affair (here ). A Russian dragon, a leader in the Mafiya in his human guise, has brought a group of cursed gems known as “the Dragon Eggs” due to their egg-like shape and huge size) to New York, ostensibly to sell them at auction. While there, they are made part of a display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, about “Gods and goddesses, beasties and monsters, myths and legends, all safely represented in painting, sculpture, or artifact”, for which SPI is providing security–in no small part because many of the attendees are supernatural creatures of some kind. Also because they have been warned that there will be a robbery at the show, but not what will be stolen. Makenna (our hero and narrator) and her sexy partner Ian are on the scene when what seems like a statue of three harpies suddenly becomes three real harpies, who kill a security guard and steal the Dragon Eggs. Makenna does manage to save a young man from disaster when he grabs one of the harpies and gets knocked out. Mac notices that when he grabs the harpy he causes the gems to light up, which indicates magic power. He then manages to shock her, which confirms it.

It seems that he is a “gem mage” of great power but no training. When they take him along to visit his boss (who has connections in the supernatural community) they are attacked by the Harpies who kidnap him. But our heroes find other problems awaiting them: the boss in question has been petrified. There is a rogue gorgon on the loose.

Gorgons are given a unique and interesting biology here and we even meet the oldest living one in North America. She’s not a bad sort, but she had a lot of growing up to do, the first 2000 years or so.

So our heroes have to deal with kleptomaniacal harpies, a killer gorgon, an angry dragon who wants his diamonds back, and a licentious and handsome goblin. At least it’s not the end of the world . . . for everyone. But there could be a really big disaster heading their way, if they don’t find the diamonds soon.

Light-hearted fantasy, a lot of fun, with generally likable characters and a tense situation. Recommended

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