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    REVIEW: Conned by Kim Fielding

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    Bureau: Conned – Kim Fielding

    World War I veteran Thomas Donne is new to San Francisco. Always a stoic man, shell shock and a lost love have nearly turned his heart to stone. No matter–a private eye has no room for softness. Almost broke, he takes on what appears to be a simple case: finding a missing young man.

    As a magician and medium, Abraham Ferencz cons his audiences into believing he can cheat death and commune with their dearly departed. Although his séances are staged, the spirits are very real, and they’ve brought him almost more pain than he can bear.

    When Donne’s case becomes complicated and the bodies start to pile up, he and Ferencz must fight their way through a web of trickery and lies. The truth is obscured by the San Francisco fog, and in their uncanny world, anyone can catch a bullet.


    Bureau is a series I’ve been diligently following since the beginning. Six books in and it’s still giving us lovable characters and enjoyable stories with magic and heart.

    Conned is the latest installment. Private detective and former Londoner, Thomas Donne was hired by a rich and dubious wannabe politician named Herbert Townsend to find a young man. Townsend was decidedly non-specific about the details but was willing to pay good money.

    Thomas’s investigations led him to magician and conman, Abe Ferencz. Abe has been employing the young man as his assistant. A series of deaths led the PI and conman to work together to uncover the killer’s identity. All the victims were known to Abe. He could be next.

    Ghosts and spirits aside, this is the most spiritual of all the books. Religion played an important role with Abe’s Jewish background being a crucial part of his character. The story put emphasize on how it anchored him to his true self.

    All the books in the series has always been, for a lack of better word, vague about the definitive presence of a god. I liked how the world-building didn’t limit itself to the usual religious concepts. Instead, it had a more general and inclusive ethos which makes a lot more sense in a world where literally anything can exist

    Townsend explained the Bureau‘s mission something to the effect of the lines of good and evil, friends or enemy are porous and it’s their job is to nudge those lines gently until they are in the right place. It’s about protecting “everything that’s valuable in people and not just human people“.

    Our heroes, Thomas and Abe, were men who had seen enough deaths to know not to waste life in regrets. So I could understand how they want to grab life by the balls and jump head first into a relationship in just a matter of days. I liked how the author executed the romantic development. She did it in such a way that you feel the strength of their connection and not how short the timeline actually is.

    While I liked the pacing of the romance, I did feel the drag in the first half of story. This was the part where they found the dead bodies one by one. There was the going-around-in-circles feel to it. Thankfully, the story picked up upon the appearance of Agent Crespo.

    Also, while I liked the general world-building, in this story, the paranormal elements were kind of confusing and a bit scattered in its presentation. Maybe it helps if the reader is more familiar with Judaism than I am.

    The book is set in the late 1920s. There’s a great sense of time and place with a noir vibe. It was an era of cloches and speakeasies, a time I’m fascinated with but don’t want to time travel to because, wow, people smoke and drink like there’s no tomorrow.

    This is a prequel of sorts to the entire Bureau world. The agency was only less than a decade old. We also meet Townsend before he was the West Coast Chief.

    I’m happy we finally get a backgrounder on the Chief. He is always present but mostly in the shadows, wielding his considerable influence and power, nudging various characters towards the best outcome. There were hints of his paranormal nature throughout the series. Here, we get his origin story. It’s definitely worth the wait especially with how it was related to a key secondary character in the story.

    Conned might not be my favorite book in the series (that honor goes to Creature) but it was a great addition, nonetheless. It certainly answered some burning questions I had and getting a look at the early days of the agency is a treat. You will meet men brave enough to catch bullets. You will see what a true mensch is capable of. And learn what it is about all along.

    A game.

    A very long game.

    Rating:
    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Street Spirit (Fade Out)
    Artist: Radiohead
    Album: The Bends

    P.S.

    The books can be read as standalones but I recommend starting at the beginning where a half angel and a captive demon discovered their cosmic connection. There will be a holiday-themed book about them soon.

    Reviews of Bureau books below:
    Corruption
    Clay White
    Creature
    Chained
    Convicted

    Posts on Kim Fieldings works here.


    If you like my content, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below to get your copy of Bureau. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases at no additional cost to you.

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    REVIEW: Destroyer Of Worlds by Jordan L. Hawk

    SPECTR: Destroyer of Worlds – Jordan L. Hawk

    After becoming possessed by the vampire spirit Gray, telekinetic Caleb Jansen thought his situation couldn’t get any worse. But that was before Graham Forsyth, head of SPECTR’s sinister Research Division, took him into custody.

    Forsyth claims he can exorcise Gray before the forty-day time limit runs out. But once at RD, Caleb and Gray find themselves ensnared in a web of lies. What is the truth behind the tests Forsyth is performing on them? What does the agency really plan to do with Gray? And most worrisome of all, why does Gray sense demons within the walls of RD’s compound?

    Caleb’s boyfriend, SPECTR agent John Starkweather, has suspicions of his own. With the help of his friend Sean and a shadowy organization known only by their symbol of a moth, John intends to save Caleb and Gray at any cost.

    But when divided loyalties threaten his last chance at exorcism, Caleb discovers love may come at a price higher than he’d ever imagined.

    It’s official. The drakul is unleashed, John drops his bomb shell and Caleb approves. Great Sehkmet, this installment is GOOD!

    Caleb and Gray fell into the hands of Forsyth and RD. They were taken to a military fort where they were held prisoners and underwent a battery of tests. The situation, which was already bad, became even worse as they uncover what Forsyth was up to. They planned their escape with the help of mysterious individuals they call Moths.

    This is the most dangerous situation the trio has been in so far. Caleb and Gray worked well together and instinctively knew when the other should take over. There was one heart stopping moment when the person John thought he knew unexpectedly went to the dark side. Other persons also proved they were not what they seemed.

    Gray in full glory is magnificent! We also see a vulnerable side to him and his smug face too. The relationship between him and Caleb was endearing and pure. The relationship between him and John was equally adorable if a bit awkward because John and Gray never really talked outside the exorcisms and Gray doesn’t know what to do and what John expects of him. Bless Caleb for helping Gray navigate through all these mortal nonsense.

    Destroyer of Worlds might be the best book yet! We get a lot of action, some much needed answers and whole new world of possibilities. I am happy I waited until all the books for the first series are out because I don’t know how I would deal with all the cliffhangers. And I also won’t feel too bad if the first series ends because yay! we still have series 2.

    Finally, Caleb, Gray and John are truly a throuple! Now on to Summoner of Storms.

    P.S.

    Reviews of SPECTR here.
    Reviews of Jordan L. Hawk books here.

    Rating:

    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Oh, My Lover
    Artist: PJ Harvey
    Album: Dry

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19444864-destroyer-of-worlds)

  • book,  Uncategorized

    17999898. sy475

    SPECTR: Reaper of Souls – Jordan L. Hawk

    When an incubus murders the powerful ally of an anti-paranormal senator, it’s up to hotshot Federal exorcist John Starkweather to catch the demon before it can kill again. Fortunately, he has backup, in the form of his boyfriend Caleb, a telekinetic possessed by the vampire spirit Gray.

    As the political pressure mounts and bodies pile up, John discovers an old enemy protecting the incubus: the Fist of God, a group that believes all paranormals are evil. But why would the Fist work with a demon? And why would they let it kill one of their own allies?

    John and Caleb need to find out fast. Because the incubus lurks at the intersection of love and longing, and it’s willing to turn their deepest desires against them.

    For Reaper of Souls, our SPECTR agents are dealing with an incubus and deepest darkest desires is the theme for this installment.

    Caleb got a snazzy new leather coat which didn’t impress Tiffany.

    “They aren’t going to give out a warrant against a senator on the say-so of a possessed hippie,” Tiffany replied. “Or are you a goth now, with the coat and boots? Way to live the vampire stereotype.”

    “Tiffany,” John said, a warning edge in his voice. “Can we keep the personal insults out of it, please?”

    “Fine.” She settled back in her seat, arms crossed over her chest. “But if he starts writing morbid poetry and hanging out in graveyards, I’m staking his ass.”

    But it certainly got John’s blood running, John who has a dark secret desire (which doesn’t take much to figure out given his reactions). He’s keeping it from everyone including Caleb. I wonder how Caleb and Gray would react if they know. I think all readers saw it coming but I can’t wait for the moment he drops the bombshell.

    Finding out who the possessed human was was a bit blah because there wasn’t much action on this part but the climax took it to the max.

    Powers were amped up as Gray battles the incubus on top of a lighthouse.

    The scenes where Caleb vamps out and Gray comes out to play were major hellyeah! moments. I say unleash the drakul!

    P.S.

    Reviews of SPECTR books here.

    Reviews of Jordan L. Hawk books here.

    Rating:

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: The Hollow
    Artist: A Perfect Circle
    Album: Mer de Nom

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17999898-reaper-of-souls)

  • book,  Uncategorized

    17412325

    SPECTR: Master of Ghouls – Jordan L. Hawk

    Caleb Jansen’s old life is in ruins after being possessed by the vampire spirit Gray. Now all Caleb wants is for Gray to be exorcised so he can adjust to living as a registered paranormal. Instead, District Chief Kaniyar of SPECTR offers him a new choice: be locked away for public safety, or come work for the very agency he’s spent years trying to avoid. The only good thing to come from Caleb’s possession is his relationship with federal exorcist John Starkweather, but even that seems doomed to end before it can really begin.

    John’s newest case is a nightmare: someone is summoning demons and forcing them to possess women and boys snatched from the streets of Charleston. If his team can’t find the summoner soon enough, the possessions will become permanent, transforming the victims into ghouls. To make matters worse, he barely prevents Gray from feeding on their only lead.

    Can John shield his heart from Caleb, who only seems interested in a temporary hook-up? Can Caleb keep Gray under control while they hunt for the summoner? Or will the cost of solving the case be higher than any of them could have guessed?

    Because the master of ghouls has set his sights on a new target: Gray.

    Happy first of Halloween! It’s my favorite season so here are some vampires and ghouls to kick things off.

    Master of Ghouls is the second novella in the SPECTR series and I admit, my brain wasn’t fully engaged when I was listening to this, what with chores and what have you. It also went by fast but given that, I liked how Gray+Caleb+John’s relationship is progressing at a reasonable pace. Cinnamon roll Gray is still bewildered with humans in general and Caleb’s issues in particular because Gray assumes them living with John is a done deal whereas Caleb is all doubts and second guesses.

    There were also ghouls that Gray is itching to hunt and now that Caleb and Gray are working for SPECTR, I am excited for them to unleash full drakul power which is something that John gets a kick out of. He’s still trying to find ways to get Gray out of Caleb but take your time, John.

    Distracted as I was, I still felt the rush and the suspense at the climax. Jordan L. Hawk did a good job setting up threads for the next installments and introducing a sinister villain. At the end, some doubts were put to rest and the trio took it to the next level. Yay!

    P.S.

    Ok, John, so I said take your time but what I really mean is please don’t exorcise Gray! Just don’t. Ever.

    Review of book 1, Hunter of Demons here

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits 

    Soundtrack: Ghouls Night Out
    Artist: Misfits
    Album: Collection

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17412325-master-of-ghouls)