Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book Review: Gail Z. Martin's Deadly Curiosities

So, this is my first shot a book review, and I've read a couple books lately that beg for reviews because they are so good!  So here goes.

Slight Spoliers follow, but I'm working to not give the big details away!

Gail Z. Martin's Deadly Curiosities

Genre: Urban Fantasy (though I've heard some folks call it Horror)
Setting: Charleston South Carolina

I've read my fair share of books set in the American South, but nothing before set in Charleston. I've only been to the lovely city once, and Martin evoked all the things I remember about it and more. With urban fantasy, very often the setting itself is a character, and this novel is no exception. Martin brings the city to life with a lovely B & B, a fabulous city market, creepy naval yards, and the quaint (and deadly) Trifles and Folly--an antique and estate sale shop where the proprietor works to find magical objects and keep the really dangerous ones from the world.

Cassidy Kincade, the owner of Trifles and Folly, is a delight. Equal parts bold and aware of her magical limitations, she's devoted both to her antiques and to protecting herself, her friends, and the world from the dangers of supernatural objects. Her gift, seeing the images and memories of objects when she touches them, proves both useful and exhausting. 

I also very much enjoyed the diversity of the cast of characters. Cassidy's best friend is Teag, a gay man with magical abilities just starting to grow. Martin rounds out the main cast with a 500 year old vampire and Dr. Lucinda Williams, an expert on African myth and folklore and a practitioner of magic. And, of course, there's Cassidy's Maltese, Baxter. Even the minor characters--friends, museum curators, an old marine, and a demon hunter--are full of life and personality.

The plot moves quickly, driving forward and carrying the reader along for the ride. Cassidy and her team must stop a long-thought-dead wizard and the demon he has raised from devastating Charleston, and not get killed along the way. I couldn't put the book down, reading longer into the night than I should have on more than one occasion. I loved Cassidy and her friends, rooting for them all the way.

For fans of Urban Fantasy, this is a must-read. Martin has several short stories set in the Curiosities world that I'm eager to read, and I do hope that Cassidy and her companions will have another novel-length story as well!