Heart of Fire by Lisa Edmonds

Alice Worth, #2

Join Alice. Private Investigator of the Supernatural.

It has been a rough month for mage private investigator Alice Worth.

Alice hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks, her relationship with werewolf Sean Maclin is on the rocks, a federal agent hounds her every step, and a powerful vampire whose ulterior motives have ulterior motives watches her every move. It’s enough to drive any woman to drink.

Just when Alice's ghost sidekick Malcolm is about to stage an intervention, her former employer, Mark Dunlap, enlists her help to find out who’s been kidnapping women off the streets. As the list of the missing grows, the city’s anger turns against the vampires, and the Vampire Court hires Mark and Alice to find those responsible. After the case reunites her with Sean, Alice is forced to confront painful demons from her past, as well as the very real demon who wants her dead and the vampire determined to control her power.

When tragedy strikes close to home and a friend’s life hangs in the balance, Alice goes up against the most powerful adversary she’s ever faced in an explosive showdown that will leave Alice and her city forever changed.

As hard to put down as the first, but has some frustrations the first didn't character-wise. Still, this is a new favorite series that I already wish were longer. There are two books published after this (but one of them isn't out until June!! Argh), and I have no idea if the series is finished or still in progress. Bummer, but at least I still have two books.

Alice hasn't been doing well. Consumed by guilt by the end of the events from the first book and on a seemingly permanent break from her new fuzzy-bunny Sean, the chip on her shoulder is still concrete strong and weighing her down. She's asked by her former boss and father-like-figure Max to help with a case for the vampire court. What's at stake is huge; dozens of prostitutes and homeless have been missing, and no one is looking in the right direction before the mages came onboard to sniff around.

Mystery-wise, the reader is treated with plenty of actual investigating again - case files, witness talking, video cameras showing us surprise traitors, ooh la la. We also get a bit of supe politics, town outcry and riots, an appearance before the court, complications with the police (although that's dialed down).

Detective Lake is actually open-minded and I liked him. I don't think the author should have had him (view spoiler) He's a good guy and a good cop and I don't see why Alice couldn't have thrown him some more bones. I get she has the natural inclination to lie, has mucho to hide, but it wouldn't have implicated her by telling him some truths. She has some big secrets to hide, but not about this case and not about some of what happened in present day. The character is a bit stubborn and very frustrating in this sequel.

Speaking of that, I could have shaken her with Sean too. She's nearly dying and halfway passing out pretty much every chapter of the book, but she's so prickly and antagonistic when asked if she's okay, what happened, and for help. Argh! That's the main reason this one was a star short of the last. Seriously, it gets bad.

We get a little of Charles and the vamps, done in a well way. We find out a secret is out there which should be interesting - their ending meeting showdown? Simply awesome.

Sean is where it's at, but I disliked that a certain character is leaving by the end of the book. I wish the author had gone a different direction with that. He will be missed.

There's some genuine grief and a stunner of sadness in this one too with personal loss. On the other hand we get an adorable new dog Roscoe for a few pages, news about Alice's past that may be coming closer to her present *yikes*, more on the big bad John West from the last book, but sadly very little Malcolm the ghost time. Also, Natalie from the first book is totally MIA - would have liked her to stay around as a casual friend.

A great series to try out if you enjoy UF.

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