Kissing. A brief, mildly graphic sex scene. References to rape. Attempted rape.
I’d spent my whole life settling, trying not to attract attention, and generally doing whatever it took to keep other people happy. I didn’t want to do that again. Not when I was finally comfortable in my own skin. Sure, there were certain challenges, like a drug lord who wanted me dead, and the fact that I owed a demon a debt that he could call due at any moment. But everybody’s got problems, right?
Whenever Corine Solomon touches an object, she immediately knows its history. But her own future concerns her more and more. Now back in Mexico, she’s running her pawnshop and trying to get a handle on her strange new powers, for she might need them. And soon.
Then former ally Kel Ferguson walks through her door. Heavily muscled and tattooed, Kel looks like a convict but calls himself a holy warrior. This time, he carries a warning for Corine: the Montoya cartel is coming for her–but they don’t just pack automatic weapons. The Montoyas use warlocks, shamans, voodoo priests–anything to terminate trouble. And Corine has become enemy number one…
I’ve come to expect great things from Ann Aguirre. I don’t just read her books, I step into the skin of her characters, breath the same air, taste the same food, feel the same rush of adrenaline and chill of fear. The Corine Solomon books in particular, have all been superb supernatural rides, and SHADY LADY is the best yet.
What a surprise Kel was in this book. When we first met him in BLUE DIABLO, he was this crazy, zealous warrior. Barely human. An enemy. A tenuous alliance was formed between him and Corine, but he was still terrifying at best, and homicidal most times. And yet, Ann changed him in a very gradual, subtle way throughout SHADY LADY. Or maybe she just changed my perception, because by the end of the book, I’d basically called the race for Corine’s heart and the two other guys from the previous book weren’t even close. I loved how my expectations were completely turned upside down and yet I never once felt cheated.
But even though I may have declared a winner, that doesn’t mean that Corine (or Ann has). I had some issues with Corine’s indecisiveness in the previous books, and she’s no more resolute this time when it comes to the men in her life. In SHADY LADY, she mentally commits to each one before waffling on to the next in the space of only a few chapters. Talk about whiplash. Yes there are circumstances that prompt each decision, but I would have expected her to maybe take a little time to think things through before moving on to the next guy. But that’s my only complaint in this otherwise excellent urban fantasy.
There is so much good stuff packed into this book. Surprising character transformations, rich worldbuilding, gorgeous writing, killer action scenes and hot romance (the chapters in the jungle reminded me of a classic Linda Howard romance). Everything adds up here. Urban Fantasy fans will want to get drunk on this series, and the good news is that we have at least two more Corine Solomon books to look forward to. DEVIL’S PUNCH will be out in April 2012, followed by BLOODY MARIA in April 2013. So belly up to the bar if you haven’t already. This is a series that just keeps getting better.