Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Taken (Celestial Blues #1) by Vicki Pettersson

He’s a fallen angel. She’s a rockabilly reporter. Together they must solve a deadly string of murders plaguing the mortal and the immortal worlds.  Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was over fifty years ago when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Now he’s a Centurion, an angel who assists other murdered souls through their journey to the afterlife. But while Shaw might be an angel … he’s no saint. Haunted by the mysterious events surrounding his own death, he seizes a chance to wreak some vengeance when he witnesses a deadly attack on journalist Katherine “Kit” CraigJoining forces, the unlikely avengers take to the streets, hunting a killer whose trail of bodies stretches across Las Vegas and into an immortal netherworld. It is a dangerous trek that lead them into the darkest corners of Sin City and into the heart of an evil conspiracy extending beyond the lights of the Strip that could destroy them both. But destruction isn’t the only threat Griffin faces. The closer he gets to Kit, the more he finds himself bewitched by her mortal charms. Can he resist falling under her spell? And does he want to?

"Do you want to know what the difference is between sex for money and sex for free, Mr. Shaw?"  Chambers' voice twisted across the room to snag Grif one last time.  He waited until Grif had turned to finish.  "Sex for money always costs less."

Review:  Flummoxed by the death of her best friend and newspaper photographer, Katerine "Kit" Craig embarks on a journey of discovery to answer the questions:  Who killed Nicole and why?  

Katherine is an investigative reporter at her family's newspaper.  Kit and Nic were working on a story that involved prostitution and wealthy, powerful Las Vegas businessmen.  This is a very dark story that hinges on a mystery.  Angels and celestial beings are definitely involved, but they seem to take the back burner to the mystery at large.

Kit is a young lady with a hard core rockabilly style.  What is rockabilly style you ask?  Rockabilly culture began in the 1920s with the fusion of blues and country music.  Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley were all considered part of the rockabilly sound in the 1950s.  There have been several revivals over the years of this sound, and today there are rockabilly lovers that dress in the style of the 1950s.  Men tend to dress in jeans, white t-shirts and leather jackers, with their hair greased back.  Women tend to favor 1940s and 1950s hairstyles with curls, Betty Page bangs and flower hair accessories.  They like to wear halter dresses, dresses with sweetheart necklines and pencil skirts.  Here are a few examples:

Griffin Shaw was present at Nicole's death.  He is an angel, or a Centurion, charged with helping the recently deceased find their way to the other side.  He makes a small mistake while trying to help Nicole, and changes his destiny.  He is punished and forced to take on flesh as a human until his penance is complete.  Although in human skin, Grif can still sense death around humans.  Since his mistake was made with Nicole, he investigates Kit's apartment.  When he sees a disaster about to take place, he intervenes, which further angers the Powers That Be.  

Grif is from the 1950s.  Literally.  He has returned to human form wearing the exact same clothes he died in.  He is handsome and charming, and a private investigator by trade.  Once he meets up with Kit, they agree to help one another.  Grif will help Kit solve Nicole's murder, and Kit will help Grif solve his wife, Eva's, murder.  Grif has a bit of a chauvanistic nature that I think is indicative of the times he lived in.

Even a random, careless act - even bad luck - was too much for most females to handle.

Kit is a modern girl with a love of all things 1950s.  She a stubborn, dogged reporter with a nose for big news stories.  She feels that she is fighting the good fight - investigating stories that will make the world a better place. She is very talkative, beautiful and almost Pollyanna in her positive thinking.  She has lost a lot of people in her life, but is always looking for the silver lining to every cloud.  She is a hard worker and very bright.  

So what on earth, he wondered, kept that swivel in her step?  What made her dust herself off after getting knocked down?  Why the hell did she insist on gifting him with that damned magnificent smile?  Why did she taste like his own forgotten hope?
Grif and Kit start off with a slow burn. They are obviously attracted to one another, but Grif has some baggage.  He is an angel, and on top of that, he carries around guilt for the death of his wife fifty years earlier. This guilt keeps him just out of Kit's grasp and causes some emotional problems for them both.  

The ending of this book kept me on the edge of my seat. The villain in this story is uber bad.  Every time there was a conversation with him on the page, I had to wipe the imaginary slime off of me. There were twists and turns in the mystery that kept me guessing, and some very intense scenes. I liked how this book ended in regards to Grif and Kit.  

Vicki Pettersson does a wonderful job of writing in this book. The writing is tight and descriptive, and I felt connected to all the characters in this book, including the despicable Chambers and the self-absorbed Paul. I loved the dark feeling to this story, and the Hollywood feel to it. Instead of reading a book, I could have easily been watching an old Hollywood noir mystery film. I am definitely looking forward to the next installment of this series.  

Many thanks to Harper Voyager for providing an ARC of this book.

My co-blogger Cat wrote a guest review for this book.  You can find it here.


roro said...

sounds awesome
lovly review

LilyElement said...

I was wondering how this book was so thank you so much for posting a review. I'll definitely be getting it.

Sinfully Delicious Book Reviews said...

Love the photos you added! I can't wait to read this! I need to soon.

Carmel @ Rabid Reads said...

I struggled with this one. I found the pacing slow and that there were several holes in the plot. I agree that Pettersson's writing is good and am interested in seeing what she does with the next installment because of how unique the storyline is. Great review. It always helps to read a different perspective. :)

Jamie said...

@Carmel - I can see where some might have found some slow spots, but I'm hoping that was just part of it being the first book in the series. I really liked the whole "feel" of the book, and I'm hoping that the second is even better ;-)

Melliane said...

I was wondering about this one, but I'm glad you enjoyed it, I'm curious now to learn more about it.

Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy said...

Enjoyed your review Jamie!!:) Thamks for the visuals as well!!:)

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Loved the pictures with this one! I really like the sounds of this and the mystery with it. It is on my WANT List. :D Thank you!

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