The Riley Jensen series was a binge read of mine a few years back, so when I found out that Keri Arthur had a new Urban Fantasy series releasing, I was excited to give it a try. What I discovered later was that it’s not really new. Memory Zero and the entire Spook Squad series was actually released for the first time a decade ago. This is a re-release with new edits and a new publisher. Hardcore Arthur fans undoubtedly knew this already. Another surprise: there is no romance. None. Urban fantasy purists may celebrate, but I was a bit disappointed.
The book is action packed, starting in the middle of a dangerous situation for our heroine, Samantha. Her partner, Jack, has called her to a shady part of town for a secret meeting. And since he has been missing for the past few weeks, she can’t ignore the opportunity to finally find out what has been going on. In a matter of just a few pages, she is nearly killed and the sequence of events essentially destroys the life as a cop she has worked so hard to build.
She is set up to look like a killer. The only witness is Gabriel, a mysterious shapeshifter who has his own agenda. He works for a secret supernatural organization that is not only interested in Samantha’s partner, but Samantha herself. She is forced to work with him if she has any hope of finding answers or clearing her name.
You might think this is a romantic set up for Gabriel and Sam. I did. I was wrong. At least in this book. It’s all business in most times, with a few traces of warm and fuzzies of the friendship variety. Maybe later installments may move toward more, but don’t expect it here. In fact, there is very little time for any exploration of feelings. There are too many explosions, kidnappings, shootings and stabbings; betrayals and double-betrayals. It’s pretty much a breakneck pace and you have little opportunity to grow bored.
I liked the story overall. It kept me engaged and interested in what would happen next. It posed a lot of questions, though, without giving many answers. This is especially true when it comes to what Sam is or what has Gabriel so hellbent on not having her as a partner. There was also a nearly throw-away line about a dead mate that really needed more explanation. My biggest issue was in the relationship between Sam and Jack. I take issue with how far off Sam’s perception was from the reality. She is supposed to be a smart woman and a good cop. That she could be so completely snowed came off as convenient to the plot but inauthentic – and for something so pivotal to the story—that was a fail.
I am curious about where the story will go, but I am also bummed to find out it’s over, before I’ve barely started it. Arthur says on her website that she is done with the characters, so three installments seem to be it. I have to ponder whether to continue.
*ARC Provided by Dell
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Keri Arthur
Re-Release Date: August 26, 2014
Original Release Date: June 15, 2004