Reviewed by: E
Men in Black meets Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum in the new urban fantasy novel starring seer Makenna Fraser and her fellow agents at Supernatural Protection & Investigation.
The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) know that fighting evil is a full-time job, especially when a new designer drug—with mind-blowing side effects—hits the streets…
It’s called Brimstone. And after the first few hits, you’ll see every supernatural beast sharing the sidewalk, train, or office with you. After that, you’ll start seeing the really scary stuff.
I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for the SPI. And the collateral damage caused by Brimstone is something I’d like to unsee: dead drug dealers missing their hearts—and souls. Because your local pusher doesn’t stand a chance against the new cartel muscling its way into New York. And since the drug can only be produced with magic and molten brimstone fresh from Hell, that means a rift to the underworld is open somewhere in the city.
And when—not if—the cartel loses control of it, well…
It’s going to be Hell on earth.
This blurb came from Goodreads
I have been reading and enjoying Shearin since I discovered her Raine Benares series and really fell in love with her characters, their zany adventures, and how she turned my usual mental image of goblins topsy-turvy. So when I discovered she had started a new series a couple of years ago and once again it included dragons, other supernatural creatures, politics, special squirrel secret code letter agencies, secrets kept from humans, and a heroine who kept ending up in rather nasty situations I couldn’t resist. The timing for this review was perfect because I managed to forget about the nasty blizzard weather outside my place for hours on end as I eagerly advanced the pages mentally devouring Makenna’s latest case.
Makenna is a Seer, someone who can see through any glamour or spell to what is truly underneath. She grew up in the South as part of a family where everyone had something a bit extra. Wanting a bit more adventure in life she moved to NYC and ended up working for Supernatural Protection & Investigations, SPI, not as an agent but as their Seer. Seers, at least the ones employed by SPI, tended to suffer from sudden deaths at a relatively high rates so Makenna was expected to stay safe, out of the way, and avoid any active “agenting.” However, illegal supernatural activity in the NYC and tri-state area was becoming more prevalent and visible to the human eye so she was unable to stay safely hidden.
This particular story started off on a first date, full of not just the usual first date tensions and jitters but with the added benefit of “big brother” watching disapprovingly. And then things went bad and jumped to worse relatively quickly. This ended up only being the tip of the iceberg as Makanna, SPI, and a few unexpected allies struggled to stem the growing supernatural violence and keep it from human knowledge while trying to save the city.
One of the many things Shearin does extremely well is building action, tension, and stakes. With each new piece of information, investigative angle, death, or attack it became evident this was more then the typical territorial dispute. It was a lot of fun to see how politics and ancient encounters both helped and hindered the case. I caught myself giggling at the mental machinations coming from all sides as things grew more complicated.
I also enjoyed the bonds between the characters. Makenna had become part of the team and they cared for and about her. They also didn’t envy her job or knowledge because it came with a lot of danger. Then there was the romantic/sexual tension/attraction with someone who probably wasn’t an altruistic ally but had fingers in all sorts of things. Then there were those outside of SPI who also had a stake in the city and considered Makenna either a friend or a link to their home. Watching them all come together really made the SPI world three-dimensional.
The Brimstone Deception was a great read this snowy/windy weekend. As I mentioned on Twitter I am now restraining myself from rereading Shearin’s entire backlist because this reminded me of how much I enjoy her writing. I really loved the combination of action, suspense, world-building, and potential romance. I can’t wait to see what happens next with Makenna and the rest of SPI not to mention if she is able to try that first date again.
I give The Brimstone Deception an A