by Kalayna Price
Series: Alex Craft #1
Pub. Date: Apr. 18, 2011
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Emily Durante
Length: 10 hrs 3 min
Grave witch Alex Craft can speak to the dead, but that doesn’t mean she likes what they have to say...
As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself—who happens to look fantastic in a pair of jeans—nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high profile murder when she’s attacked by the ‘shade’ she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around...
To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something—though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex—but Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer wielding a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life... and her soul.
I first read this series back in the first half of 2013, and I really enjoyed it. Then we have had to wait a couple years for the latest book (Grave Visions) to come out, which is finally happening on Feb. 2, 2016. Because I have not reviewed this series for the blog, and I am not very good at remembering what I read so long ago, I thought I would re-read the series in audiobook leading up to the new release.
So our heroine throughout this urban fantasy series is Alex Craft. She is a grave witch, with a talent for raising shades of the dead. (Not so different from Anita Blake in Laurell K. Hamilton's series.) She has been disowned by her father for not being able to control her magic, as he is a member of Humans First (a pro-human organization that is against magic). He is also the Lt. Governor or some such position like that. While Alex is scraping by raising shades, her dad and sister live in the lap of luxury. She even had to change her name so good ol' dad's constituents didn't find the family tie. SMH. Despite all that, Alex is self-sufficient and a pretty engaging heroine. She is not one of the kickass girls, her fighting skills are crap and she is somewhat debilitated after using her magic, so I really have to admire her for making it out on her own. She has a good friend posse ranging from human to fae to gargoyle to ghost to soul collector. I like Alex Craft and her unique grave magic - and I loved that by the end of the book, she found out she was even more unique than she originally thought.
This installment is really more about the action than the romance... but there is still a bit of a love triangle. We first have Death, the hunky soul collector who seems to be carrying a torch for Alex (unbeknownst to her). I liked his character and picture him as a young hunky Colin Farrell with dark hair and eyes, a leather jacket and longish hair. Then we have the hunky blond detective, Falin Andrews. While their relationship starts off somewhat rocky, he ends up sticking very close to Alex' side for a good portion of the book. Going forward, there are good prospects with these two guys. I don't know whether I am Team Death or Team Falin yet - I am waiting to see how the situation plays out in later books. It's too early to make a decision.
So like I said above, the plot is more focused on the action than the romance. And the action entails Alex getting tangled up in an investigation of body snatchers and sacrificial deaths. She has to find the culprit before the blood moon comes and he is able to complete his ritual, which would be very bad for everyone on the Earth plane and in Faery. She is also running against the clock of a soul-sucking curse that she has contracted that is tied to the case.
This introductory book was not my favorite of the series - but it provides a good backdrop to the rest of the story. The remaining books are more fae-natured, and I love those.