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Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin – Review
Publisher’s Description: Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina, that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.
Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.
What I expected: I’m not exactly sure what I expected. This is the first time I’ve read this author, though I have heard of her and seen her books on the shelves. For some reason I’ve never read any of them. But I believe that this is her first foray into urban fantasy, and since that is one of my favorite sub-genres, I decided to give it a go. I also liked the antiques angle – it was intriguing and new.
What I got: Even though I did not have too many specific expectations of this book, the blurb had led me to believe that Sorren the vampire was more of a partner in the day to day operations of the antiques shop. Of course, I was wrong. He does play a big role, especially in helping with any magically charged item and then later when the antiques start to hit the fan, but isn’t there helping to sell and market the antiques like a regular shop owner. While there was a good deal of action there were not tons of Dresden-like battles. For most of the book our heroes are trying to find out what is going on and dealing with the fallout from items the shop has sold that used to be mundane but have suddenly become rather dangerous and scary.
What I liked: I really liked the antiques aspect as well as the history the author used to flesh out the tale. I definitely enjoyed reading about the crew’s adventures with ghosts and other scary manifestations – especially when a museum became an obstacle course of scary historical objects. I liked that they had to do some research and footwork to gather information instead of just magically fixing things.
What I did not: I felt that there was a bit too much easy help to be had for Cassidy that she was unaware of. It felt as if these people would have made themselves known to her much sooner than when she suddenly needs help. She knows about the supernatural, works regularly with magically imbued items and has a vampire for a silent partner; I would have expected that she would have both encountered dangerous people and bad situations before this as well as have known that certain people were not as ordinary as they looked.
Cover Talk: I like the atmosphere of the cover – it tells the prospective reader that it is most likely an urban fantasy with a main character who does not mind sharing the limelight with her friends and coworkers. I think it is enough to intrigue a reader enough to read the blurb.
Recommendation: I recommend this to all urban fantasy fans, even those who do not really like vampires. In this case there is no romance or sparkles or other silly shenanigans; the vampire is an old, supernatural force dedicated to keeping the mundane safe from the not so mundane. UF fans with a passion for antiques who enjoy learning about local history will particularly enjoy this one. I am even reasonably sure that readers new to urban fantasy might like this story. So, go read Deadly Curiosities! I am hoping there will be more in this series forthcoming.