Author ~ Jordan L. Hawk
Publisher ~ Widdershins Press
Published ~ 17th March 2017
Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance
An outbreak of demon attacks across Charleston has worn SPECTR agent John Starkweather to the bone. Now a new threat faces his team: a demon with bullet—and bite—proof skin, which can’t be stopped by ordinary means.
John’s only solace comes in the form of his lovers: Caleb Jansen and the vampire spirit Gray. Caleb and Gray have their own problems, however. Unbeknownst to John, they’ve been tracking a mysterious entity across the city. And after they finally come face to face with their quarry, nothing will ever be the same.
This book is part of a series. It’s book #3 in the Second Series. Can it be read alone? I would say certainly; if you are prepared for mentions of things that are not fully explained, because they were explored in previous books. The main thing, I think, that might confuse people is Caleb. To be fair, there are more than one mentions about how Gray and Caleb were fused and what Gray actually is, but it’s not explained or expanded. I don’t think that’s an issue, although I have to admit I’ve read the previous books, so I know what’s going on. I’m not sure how confusing it would be to someone who is new to the series, but my gut reaction is that they’d be fine and could enjoy the book as a standalone for its own sake.
There’s very little to complain about in this book. The writing is mature and fluid, the characters are well fleshed out, even when they’re not human. There’s a whole immersive world to play with, existing side-by-side with our own. I know it’s a trope – A paranormal police force dealing with weird creatures which humans are largely unaware of, but it’s done very, very well. Slightly unusually, the humans in this book are very well aware of the horrors that live among them.
Some of the ideas put forward in the books make me uncomfortable, such as forcing anyone with a “paranormal” ability, no matter how weak, to register and wear identifying bands. That was brought home in this book when the register was used to interrogate anyone with an ability. Caleb is upset and angry, understandably so, as he spent years as an unregistered paranormal running from this very thing, whereas John is fatalistic – if it helps we have to use it, The needs of the many and all that. I hasten to add this is not a criticism of the book. It is an author’s job to take readers out of their comfort zone and make them question.
I think the only tiny issue I would raise with the book is that I felt sometimes the pacing was off slightly – although I can’t point to any specifics – and it didn’t feel as if it had quite the weight of previous books in the series, although it dealt with weighty matters. None of this should put you off, though, it was a personal thing, I think.
Caleb and Gray are tolerated rather than accepted by their workmates and Caleb’s sense of isolation is growing. However, he gets a wake-up call when he realizes that Gray has been alone for thousands of years and, now there’s a new drakul in town, he wants to hunt with it rather than hunt it. For Gray’s sake, Caleb keeps the existence of the other drakul a secret, but the strain is hard on him and when the secret comes out it’s hard on his relationship with John, too, even though the new drakul was the only reason they managed to defeat an almost unbeatable demon.
Should Caleb have kept secrets? Should John have been more empathetic to Caleb’s struggles? There are some difficult issues to wrestle with, on behalf of the characters and yourself. All-in-all, the book was a cracking read. It stretched my mind and made me think about a lot of things, while thoroughly entertaining me. AND it has a hot Goth in it (and a hot Russian) so what more could anyone possibly want.
Mocker of Ravens (SPECTR Series 2 Book 1)
Caleb has spent the last six months adjusting to life possessed by the vampire spirit Gray. Unfortunately, after the events of Fort Sumter, the other agents of SPECTR view him more as a ticking time bomb than a co-worker.
The one bright spot is Caleb and Gray’s boyfriend, federal exorcist John Starkweather. But John has problems of his own. A supernatural killer is on the loose in Charleston, stealing the hearts of its victims to extend its own unnatural life.
With the help of a rookie agent, John, Caleb, and Gray must find the killer before it strikes again…or before they become the demon’s next victims
Dancer of Death (SPECTR Series 2 Book 2)
Revenge. Murder. Ballet?
Vampire spirit Gray wants to hunt demons. Unfortunately, the foolish mortals at SPECTR have put his host, Caleb, their lover John, and their partner Zahira on desk duty. Gray longs to leave Charleston with John, but if they flee, SPECTR will make them the hunted.
A series of paranormal murders returns the team to the field, at least temporarily. Ballerinas are being murdered by a vila, a demon that kills with dance. If they can’t stop the deadly attacks in time, one of Zahira’s friends may become the next victim.
And while they track the demon, an unknown entity has begun to track Gray…
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