I have reviewed Deborah Blake's paranormal amateur sleuth Baba Yaga series, Wickedly Dangerous (click here). But this is a different series that is more along the lines of Urban Fantasy with a complex witch/cop as the main character.
Copyright: November 2015 (Intermix) 280 pgs
Series: 1st in Donata Santori Mystery series
Sensuality: Adult situations mentioned, sprinkled cursing
Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Police Procedural
Main Character: Policewoman Donata Santori is a witch who talks to the dead.
Setting: modern day, large city (never named)
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest opinion
"Police officer and Witch Donata Santori spends her days interrogating dead witnesses by summoning their spectral forms. Normally the job (Witness Retrieval Specialist) is little more than taking statements and filing reports. But when she’s called in on the case of a murdered art restorer, she finds herself suddenly in possession of a mystical portrait that both the human and paranormal communities would kill to get their hands on.
Unable to take on the forces hunting her alone, Donata seeks help from two unlikely and attractive allies: a reluctant shape-changer and a half-dragon art forger. But as the three of them hurry to uncover the truth about the powerful painting, Donata realizes that she’s caught in the middle of not one but two wars—one for possession of the painting’s secrets and one for possession of her heart."
Donata, the black sheep of her powerful witch family, gets in over her head trying to handle investigating the murder outside her official duties because the world doesn't know about the rest of the paranormal entities even though witches out now out-of-the-broom-closet. She faces a lot and risks even more.
Peter Casaventi, the half-dragon art forger, has to deal with finding out he is half dragon plus learn about the paranormal world. I liked this character a lot and really want to see more of him in the next novel. Donata compares him to Cary Grant as John Robie the sophisticated cat burglar in To Catch a Thief and I had already made that comparison before it came up in the book.
Magnus Torvald is Donata's prior boyfriend, a bear shapeshifter from a Viking tradition that glorifies fighting - but he is a pacifist. Magnus helps Donata and Peter even though it is clear he would like to rekindle the flame with Donata. Yeah, it's the old love triangle.
Donata's mother and two sisters and difficult - like so many families are. I liked Ricky, the Kobold Earth Spirit with the temper, but a loyal friend. He was a great sidekick.
The plot and subplots were engaging and kept my interest. The pages turned quickly as the story flowed easily. The climax was action packed, although it sneaked up on me fast. The wrap-up sets the stage perfectly for a continuation of Donata's adventures.
I loved this debut novel. It is a great urban fantasy without being too dark, has developed characters, an interesting sidekick, plenty of action, some romance, and a sprinkling of humor. The writing flows easily and draws you into this world. I am loving this new series.
Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list