This is Book 4 in the Kate Daniels series, and just as with the others each book in the series is stronger than the one before it. This series may have surpassed my other favorite, Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series. I don’t normally read a book in one or two days because I like to stretch them out. This time I was spending the day flying from one coast to the other, and I was actually happy because I had the whole day to spend reading this book.
In Book 4, Kate must investigate a series of supernatural murders committed by someone that a whole bar full of people can’t identify; whose presence causes humans and weres to go wild; and who leaves behind highly infectious disease. Kate also has to deal with her not-so-budding relationship with Curran, the Beast Lord of the Pack after he stands her up for dinner.
What (husband and wife team) Ilona Andrews did so well in this book was balance the fantasy story – which was neither too complicated nor too rushed – with fantastic character development and building of the relationship between Kate and Curran. Andrews gives us romance and sexuality without it being overly graphic or sticky sweet.
More importantly, it doesn’t feel like a letdown when some of the tension that has been building over the last three books is resolved. Some tensions are resolved, but thankfully not all, and at the same time others increase. Andrews builds the characters of Kate and Curran by exploring concerns that both must deal with: Curran’s jealousy, possessiveness and pride, and Kate’s immaturity in relationships, and her need for independence and to protect herself from serious emotional trauma. All understandable, realistic concerns that most of us have to deal with. At the same time, Andrews provides a fantastic fantasy story and continues to develop Kate’s family history. One thing that distinguishes Andrew’s books from many in this genre is that each book tells a clearly different story from the others in the series. (I find, for example, the Dresden series to be much more difficult to distinguish one from the next.)
Despite the somewhat cheesy title and cover art, this is serious, hard-edged urban fantasy. If you like Briggs or Butcher, you will love this series.