I discovered the Anita Blake series long ago and fell in love with the mix of fantasy and action. I think she was actually the first female protagonist I really enjoyed reading about. I devoured everything I could get, then the series became more about sex than the story or the characters and I quit. I still reread the early books on occasion and recommend them to friends. I credit the series with both introducing my to dark urban fantasy and kick-ass female protagonists. I keep buying books searching for something to fill that void in my reading diet. I have discovered a few writers and characters that partially do so, but not yet found one I can say solidly does so. My most recent attempt isn’t a bad start though.
Alex Craft isn’t the tough, vampire slaying, zombie raising Anita, but there are some similarities. Alex raises shade rather than zombies, and makes them visible so they can speak with relatives, testify in court, whatever is needed. There weren’t any vampires or werewolves in this first book in a series, however there were witches, warlocks, gargoyles and several types of fairy.
Alex Craft is estranged from her family. She is a grave witch, born with the ability to see ghosts and act as a bridge between the worlds of the living and the dead. She can also do other types of magic, although not as well as she should be able to. Alex’s sister asks her for a favor, to look into the death of a coworker of their father. She sometimes acts as a police consultant and tries to do the favor using her connections only to end up finding something very odd about the body. She does the job she was supposed to do for the police, raising a shade to testify in court about her murder, then is nearly killed by a gunman while leaving court. Her friend, the detective she works with is seriously wounded by a spelled bullet, meant for her, and she finds herself stalked by both a persistent ghost and a mysterious detective she finds both attractive and sinister. As she pokes deeper into the case she uncovers a ritualistic serial killer, strange information about her past, and lots of nearly deadly encounters.
There isn’t a lot new to the world, but everything is done pretty well. There are interesting supporting characters, we don’t find out much about them, but that leaves the author plenty to do in the following books. The protagonist is rounded out fairly well and is both believable and sympathetic. She lets the reader find out the rules of her world naturally rather than spoon-feeding it to us. I though it was a good introduction to the series and already have the second book ready to go. She also has another series I may check out. This was also the first book read completely on the kindle app on my droid phone.