Review – The Ghoul Vendetta (The SPI Files #4) by Lisa Shearin

Reviewed by: E

Men in Black meets Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum in the fourth urban fantasy novel in the series starring seer Makenna Fraser and her fellow agents at Supernatural Protection & Investigation.

The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) are paid to keep the peace. But that’s not so easy when an endless evil threatens to tear that peace to pieces…

A vampire gangster’s nephew is abducted off his yacht by a bunch of low-rent Creatures from the Black Lagoon. A slew of banks are knocked over by what looks like the cast of Night of the Living Dead. All of this may seem like the movies, but, I promise you, it’s not.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI, and I know the culprits aren’t wearing disguises or makeup. They’re real. Deadly real. Especially their leader—an ancient shapeshifter who leaves a trail of chaos and blood in his wake. Now, he’s taken my partner, Ian—and his intentions aren’t pretty.

The worst part? This is only the beginning…

The beginning of the end of the human race.

This blurb came from Goodreads

I really enjoy reading Shearin’s work so when this arrived in the mail I thought it was my lucky day and saved it to read when I needed a pickmeup. I reviewed the previous installment The Brimstone Deception a year ago and I have been looking forward to this since then. There will be some spoilers for previous installments so if you prefer to avoid them I suggest you pick up book one The Grendel Affair and catch up. Makenna has settled into her job as the Seer for NY’s branch of SPI and partially as a result of her adventures during her term of employment has also picked up the ability to see portals while learning the art of self-defense in a variety of different situations. She has also picked up a rather dangerous admirer who is a skilled mage and has his fingers involved in all sorts of different business and intrigue efforts. Rake is a powerful Goblin whose interest in Mac has made her partner Ian and several other members of SPI a bit nervous despite his recent cooperation with SPI on more than one occasion.

Rafe and Mac were attempting to actually complete a date without a crisis when the fancy yacht party they were attending suffered some uninvited guests. After the surprise guests left, the host, a vampire heir, had been carried away and yet another date didn’t go as planned. By this point without a single uninterrupted date, I am impressed with Rake’s persistence. I do have to admit I would be disappointed if he stopped trying because they are entertaining to read and the interruptions are never predictable. The kidnapping coupled with a series of pinpoint high profile gruesome bank robberies led by an individual from Ian’s past who keeps appearing on scene and just won’t die meant Mac, Ian, Rake, and SPI were once again deeply involved in investigating supernatural crimes.

As the story unfolded, I really enjoyed watching the SPI crew try to figure out what was so special about the bank robbery targets and why the specific kidnapping. Rake’s knowledge and skill were critical as SPI raced against time, especially once the leader of the group of criminals, the same individual from Ian’s past, succeeded in grabbing Ian. I thought Shearin did a great job balancing tension and interjecting some levity into this part as Rake was able to get a bit back by proving a few points to the overly officious chief archivist. In addition to making me laugh, Rake was proving a point that he was assisting because he wanted to, not because he had suddenly changed his spots and turned into an altruistic individual.

In addition to the plot advancements, I found a lovely amount of inter-character developments. Mac had two fabulous conversations, well one was more of a rant but that is besides the point, with Ian and Rafe which really caught my attention. She was finally at a point when she felt comfortable enough or driven enough to open up and start letting people who matter to her know how she really feels about them or their actions. I was able to see just how much she has grown over these four novels as well as how the other characters have shifted in perspective and attitude based on their reactions. I feel like I am able to see into the inner workings of what has become a close-knit team who look out for each other professionally and personally.

The Ghoul Vendetta answered some rather interesting questions and left behind some intriguing developments in the world and the SPI team. I am super curious to see what Shearin takes the story next with the changes and relationship developments. She also laid some serious easter eggs relating to her Raine Beneras series, which you might also enjoy if you like this series. I am wondering if events in this series will have any spillover as the possibility of leakage has occurred. Once again I am glad I discovered Shearin years ago as she continues to provide stories I can read, enjoy, and reread while discovering new depths. The SPI Files are fun and yet make me question what might be hidden in front of me or around the corner that I just can’t see.

I give The Ghoul Vendetta an A

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