I’m not certain how to even start with a book like this! This is book number four in the six book Midnight Hunters series by Radclyffe, writing as L.L.Raand. These are fantasy books following the Wolf Ware Alpha Sylvan Mir and the Adirondack Timberwolf Pack. The previous books should be read in order as one will continue to build the story started by its predecessor. The Praetern Coalition seeks to get humans to acknowledge the other species, such as wares and vampires, as citizens with rights. This has made the Praetern individuals and societies visible after millennia of hiding amongst humans. Of course, powerful individuals seek to eradicate them and go as far as experimentation and assassination.
This book continues to tell the story of the Praetern and human struggle but centers around one of Alpha Mir’s previous guards. Lara was once a dominant ware turned vampire and now serves as Warlord for newly risen and powerful Vampire Gates. As she struggles to come to terms with her new identity while trying to hold on to her wolf, she finds herself alone and shunned by vampires and wares alike. This changes as she finds a dominant Cat Ware Alpha on the run. Together they must find a new place in their society and join the fight that threatens all Praeterns.
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Mercy Parker is an FBI agent working in the Unsolved Child Homicide Unit in New York. She gets called in to assist in a fellow law enforcement daughter’s murder with no leads except for the one left only for her. As she finds a way to pursue this, another child goes missing. Mercy immediately recognizes her connection to both cases and the need to involve a retired FBI profiler, Piper Vasey. Piper is a psychic who has secluded herself after the death of her husband and a lifetime of being shunned by her gift. She has become another victim as Mercy tries to desperately reach her. Together with the help of a few friends, they must find a way to reach the missing child and prevent an evil form from annihilating the human species.
This book has some dark, haunting parts that some readers may find disturbing. It does lighten up somewhat as the two main characters start working together, providing some much needed levity and, at times, outright humorous dialog.
It becomes clear early on how there are metaphysical elements illustrated through several of the characters. There is also a second story line, based on the yin and yang philosophy, intertwined with the above mentioned one. This story is well defined, and very interesting as some of its support (albeit a small part) is based on true events. The power of good and evil are showcased in a different light and with a new set of grave consequences.
The author did a great job creating the characters. The leads have chemistry and, as I said, share some entertaining dialog. There are no boring or aggravating characters, and they all work well together to advance and enrich the story line. There is even a handsome chocolate Labrador that becomes integral to the tale!
I loved the cover design by Tammy Seidick. It has crisp colors with Mercy Parker’s FBI badge and a desolate building. The title in red font pops and alludes to a case file, which is fitting to the story. It is definitely eye catching, which is what a cover should accomplish.
Mercy was released last year and was Ms Larkin’s debut novel. I can’t wait to read more of her work. Overall, an interesting concept that will appeal to readers who enjoy action, law enforcement and the metaphysical. 4.5 stars.
Detective Constable Kate Wolfe is sent as a disciplinary measure from London to a small town in Cheshire, England. There she meets Detective Chief Inspector Helen Taylor, a seasoned police officer who left a promising career in London due to personal issues. In a deceptive quiet town, they both have to investigate a series of arson attacks, a murder and a missing person while, at the same time, dealing with their mutual attraction.
Despite its title and cover, ‘Payback’ is a mystery as much as a romance. The prologue starts the thriller part in style, hitting the reader like a bucket of cold water. In the romance department, Kate and Helen’s chemistry takes a bit longer to take shape. At the beginning the author seemed to be telling more than showing their mutual attraction, but once the characters spent more time together in the investigations, their connection felt realistic and their intimate scenes hot.
Written in third person from the point of view of both main characters, the leads are well-rounded and multilayered as well as the secondary ones. Set in England, the story has a definite British feel. The plot is smartly woven to keep the reader turning pages and there’s a massive twist in the end that I didn’t see coming. I understand that the author is woking on a sequel. However, this book’s conflicts are completely solved. If you are a fan of Cari Hunter’s books, you might like this one too. Highly recommended.
Overall, a page-turner thriller and an enjoyable romance for fans of both genres alike. 4.5 stars.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.