11 July 2012

Review: The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

The Book:

Griffin Shaw was a P.I. back in the day -- fifty years ago. Now, he's an angel who has been helping souls cross over to the Everlast. Griffin is forced back into a mortal body to bring the soul of one Katherine Craig over, due to his interference with her friend Nic Rockwell. Yet Griffin has skirted the rules long enough to know that the gorgeous journalist may just be able to figure out the one case he never solved: who killed him and his wife? Protecting Kit may be more than this gumshoe can handle, especially with his growing attraction to her and the forces working to stop them.

The Yarn:

Those who are thinking "oh, another fallen angel story" should think again: this book has all the elements of a hard-boiled mystery, layered with urban fantasy. The Taken introduces Griffin Shaw, a "Centurion" angel who assists souls that died violent deaths into the Everlast -- or wherever else they may be going. Fifty years ago Shaw met his own untimely demise in Las Vegas and has been trying to figure out who killed him, along with his wife, Evie, while safely - if not always kindly - guiding souls to their own everafter.

This time his actions with journalist Nicole Rockwell change Fate, which earns him a ride back into mortality and back to Sin City, along with the task of bringing Katherine Craig's soul over before he can have his wings back. Kit is a rockabilly gal working at her family newspaper and never expected that her best friend would be killed while investigating a prostitution ring. With her sleuthing sights set on finding her friend's killer, Kit and Griffin team up, discover a conspiracy far larger than they expected, and find themselves targeted by souls both mortal and not.

There is just something about this book: its genre-bending premise should please both mystery and fantasy enthusiasts. The added details of Kit's rockabilly lifestyle bring an interesting twist to the developing personalities, especially because Griffin was actually alive and in his prime during that time.  Both characters are smart, and a little damaged, and all the more believable with their stubborn focus on the cases at hand. While some of the angel-born vs. bred trope is a little over the top, Pettersson envisions a Heaven that seems as complicated as life on Earth. I was drawn into the plots, both the immediate one and those hinted to come.

As I noted in my last Pettersson review, I was not as pleased with the ending of her last series as I could have been; those who wanted a smoothly wrapped-up ending didn't get it with Joanna and her story. It was raw and real and made me shake my head and wonder "Is this it?" Pettersson is just the kind of writer that will leave strings dangling, but that tendency will certainly keep me waiting for the next in this series.

The Ink:

Title: The Taken (Celestial Blues, #1)
Author: Vicki Pettersson
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Date: July 2012
Read: Library Trade Paperback