GENRE(S): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Horror
EDITOR: Anessa Books
COVER DESIGNER: Phatpuppy Art
Samantha Martin, or Sam, is a slumlord in Baltimore who likes collecting her own rents. In fact, that’s how we meet her, in a scene that ends with her bashing in the head of a tenant with a table leg—after being threatened with gang rape by the three men in the house. She was able to rip the leg off of the table because she’s a demon. She leaves the apartment relatively unhurt and with rent in hand.
But this scene, along with many others in which Sam insists that not only is she attracted equally to male and female humans (we are indeed all mighty attractive) but that she feels no loyalty to her own female form, I began to wonder: if you were without morals and possessed the power to take on any human form, why would you elect to be a woman? If your chosen profession is slumlord, a profession Sam adores, wouldn’t she have an easier time collecting rents if she were a burly dude? This small question gave way to many more throughout the first half of the book, where Sam’s character development was a little shaky.
We soon discover that Sam lives on a small horse farm outside of the city, whose most important feature is its next door neighbor, Wyatt. Wyatt is Sam’s eye-candy and best friend. She spends her time considering whether to sleep with him or Own him, a process which entails sucking his essence into herself and leaving his human body dead.
Trouble starts when a werewolf tracks down Sam and tells her a rogue angel is killing werewolves. The werewolf, named Candy, demands Sam’s help taking the angel down. Angels are the only beings Sam fears. They are the peacekeepers, tasked with killing demons that venture onto Earth. Only blackmail could get Sam to help out the werewolves, so blackmail is just what Candy employs. Wyatt insists he tag along, and the three set off hunting the rogue angel.
But they’re not the only ones after the rogue angel. An angel enforcer is after him too, and when the enforcer and Sam face off, things blow up. Literally. Most surprisingly, Sam grows a little more human as the human things she loves—including Wyatt—are put in danger.
Readers who insist their protagonists be “likeable” (whatever that means) might not like this book. Whether you’re a reader or a werewolf, Sam isn’t easy to get along with. But the uneasiness I felt toward her characterization at the beginning of the book wore off toward the middle once she had to deal with an opponent bigger and badder than she. At that point, the book took on a laser focus and a zip that fans of paranormal fantasy will enjoy.
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Debra Dunbar on Twitter @debra_dunbar
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Katie Rose Guest Pryal is a novelist and freelance journalist living in Chapel Hill. She read all the time—and all kinds of books—from Booker Prizers to indie urban fantasies. Her novel, ENTANGLEMENT, comes out June 15. She is active on Twitter (@krgpryal), Facebook, and her blog - katieroseguestpryal.com.