By C. E. Murphy
Published 2010, LUNA Books
paperback, 361 pages
Seattle police detective Joanne Walker started the year mostly dead, and she's ending it trying not to be consumed by evil. Literally. She's proven she can handle the gods and the walking dead. But a cannibalistic serial killer? That's more than even she bargained for. What's worse, the brutal demon can only be tracked one way. If Joanne is to stop its campaign of terror, she'll have to hunt it where it lives: the Lower World, a shamanistic plane of magic and spirits.This was my favorite book in the series without a doubt, because I finally get to see Joanne in love! While it is not with her boss, Morrison, whom it is obvious she has an attraction to, it is still a very satisfying romance. Her bubbly happiness is quite enjoyable to read, and it does not get on my nerves despite how sickly sweet Joanne is in the descriptions. At times, her love interest really does seem like the perfect man, and I am thrilled that she gets to have this in the midst of the chaos of her shamanic lifestyle.
Trouble is, Joanne's skills are no match for the dangers she's about to face—and her on-the-job training could prove fatal to the people she's sworn to protect….
I think what keeps bringing me back to this series is that Joanne's narration is both unique and comical. She is refreshingly honest about herself and her quirks and abilities and keeps a running commentary behind the scenes, even as she solves supernatural-size problems while balancing a social life and a job as a detective. Even though I still understand very little of the role of a shaman and all of Joanne's world-jumping, there is something very likable about Joanne Walker.
The other half of Joanne's romance is a man that was assumed to be dead. Aside from the romance, I love that he shows up in this book, as I get to see more of what he can and cannot do and what his personality is really like. Plus, the tension between him and Morrison is quite interesting, as it brings to the forefront the chemistry between Morrison and Joanne and makes her admit to a few things about herself.
The wendigo is the "big bad" for this book, but the final battle ends differently than what I assumed. In a way, the wendigo teaches Joanne that some flaws are acceptable and even useful. I look forward to the next book, Spirit Dances.
The Cover: The cover is an excellent depiction of the plot, right down to the strange footprints in the snow to represent the wendigo.
First Line: "Someone had been chewing on the body."
What a way to begin a book - I don't know whether to be repulsed or intrigued, but I will definitely keep reading.
Favorite Quote: "For once in my life, I wasn't even vaguely interested in rationalizations. I was just happy. I was iridescent bubble, fluffy bunny, rainbow sky happy."