“Dark currents” by Jacqueline Carey


artemisiconThis was one of the books I picked up for my birthday. Working in the book store I saw a lot of Jacqueline Carey books, and had some people tell me about her writing, so I was interested. Finally, when I was in the book store as a customer, I decided to buy all new authors, and she became one of them.

I knew next to nothing going into this series, and I will admit, it falls into the category of guilty pleasure. I love modern fantasy crime novels. Laurell K Hamilton, and Jim Butcher being common titles on this blog that fall into that category.

I think most female paranormal writers fall into a similar category, and we all know what to expect when reading their books. Female lead that every man falls madly in love with, campy first person point of view writing, tropes for days. We get it, and yet somehow I still find myself reading and enjoying these books. But if I have to hear about a characters ice blue eyes one more time I might throw-up.

I was trying to explain this series to a friend of mine and after thinking on it, my best explanation was “think Anita Blake, but only if it had been written about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

The protagonist, Daisy, is a small blonde half-demon. When her mother was younger, her and some friends had been playing with an Ouija board and accidentally summoned an incubus. Daisy, who has a very close relationship with her mother (which impressed me, most of those situations the mothers blame the children, but Carey went a different direction which is amazing!) is doing her best to ignore her demonic half and stay on the straight and narrow. She calls them the seven deadlies, and she has to do her best to steer clear of them. For the most part she looks human, her demonic trait can be hidden easily – a nice baggy pair of jeans or a flowy dress can hide a tail pretty easily.

Daisy is normally a file clerk for her local police department but when a boy ends up drowned with odd circumstances, she is pulled in as an investigator. Daisy is also an Agent of Hel (the Norse Goddess, not the Christian place), and is the policing force for what they call the Eldritch community. They are all manner of faerie, ghoul, werewolf, and supernatural being. For these creatures to exist in an area they have to have a functioning underworld, and thanks to Hel, Pemkowet does. The big difference, is because of the new Yggdrasil, the Eldritch community isn’t “underground” and Pemkowet has become a huge tourist spot with people hoping to spot something other worldly.

All of these things are what I hope for in a good fantasy mystery book! Daisy borders on annoying, and some of her traits are written badly, but I’m actually enjoying the book, and want more of the series! But like I said, guilty pleasure.

Daisy is partnered with a cop, who is still in the closet about being one of the Eldritch community. He is a werewolf, and their community has been brought up to be silent about what they are, and to only associate within the pack, because in some countries, it is legal to hunt them. He is the muscle behind Daisy’s investigation team, and travels with her deeper into the community to figure out an accident was most likely a murder, and the murdered boy isn’t the only creature in danger.

Most of her supernatural types are standard typical, she’s following the new trope of werewolves turning whenever they want, fairies, psychics, etcetera, but a new one she has that I found interesting was her representation of ghouls. I’ve always known ghouls as creatures that haunt graveyards and feast on the corpses of the newly dead, so when Daisy started to oogle the new head ghoul, I was a little creeped out. Ghouls (which is actually a slang term used, not what they actually are – glad that was cleared up) are humans that died and were accepted into neither heaven nor hell, so they were sent back to earth. They are very similar to vampires (of which are in this book) but they feast on emotions, not blood. The new head ghoul in town is a millenias-old european that owns a biker club. You probably see where this is going, Daisy is stuck between the squeaky clean werewolf cop, and the dark and dangerous biker ghoul. I’m not quite finished the book, but so far there has been no sex or anything like that (lust is one of Daisy’s seven deadlies) but most books don’t start out with the heavy stuff, they build up to it (and some forget to stop), so I don’t know how far this series will be going into erotica territory. So far, it’s just good old cop fun. Where a lot of series have the mystery in the background, this story is solely focused on the cop aspect, and even stuff Daisy does on the side still revolves around her job, so there is not forgetting the plot, or only bringing it back up when it’s convenient. I was really impressed about that.

The book is tropy, campy, and predictable (in some ways), but I absolutely love it. It fits into all the markers needed to qualify as a guilty pleasure. If you like the paranormal mysteries, without the heavy emotion and gore of Anita Blake, or grew up a fan of Buffy the Vampire slayer, this is definitely up your alley.

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