Monster (Blood Trails #2) by Jennifer Blackstream
Read: 29th April – 5th May 2018
My Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
So, before we get into what I thought about this book, I want you to know that I was lucky enough to be given a digital version of this book for free from the author, Jennifer Blackstream in exchange for an honest review. The publication date is today, 8th May 2018.
Thanks for the advance reader copy.
So what’s this book about?
Monster is the second book in Ms Blackstream’s new series Blood Trails; an urban fantasy series set in America about a village witch, Shade Renard, turned private investigator. The Blood Trails world is a place where a host of mythical supernatural beings inhabit alongside us mere mortals, including; witches, vampires, wizards, sorceresses, pixies, dwarves, trolls and various species of fae. Monster is a murder detective story within the urban fantasy genre.
Fans of Ms Blackstream’s Blood Prince series and Blood Realm series will be familiar with the creation myth found in the Blood Trails world and may recognise some of the characters who sometimes cameo within the books, however, I don’t think it’s necessary to have read Ms Blackstream’s other paranormal romance series to enjoy the Blood Trails books.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know that I don’t post spoilers of any kind or reveal any plot twists in my book reviews, so here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story:
The magic, murder, and mayhem continues…
Still recovering from the political and personal consequences of her last case, Shade Renard is in no shape for a visit from her mentor. But when the most powerful witch in existence offers you a chance at an unqualified, unlimited favor, you take it.
To collect, Shade must find out who—or what—killed a human in one of Cleveland’s peaceful metroparks. The challenge? The lead suspect is a werewolf, found with the victim’s blood all over his face. The complication? He’s a cop. As are several of the park rangers. And they’re not happy Shade is on the case…
Success means a favor from Baba Yaga. Failure means quitting her private investigative career—forever.
Favors are never free…
So far, Shade (and her trusted familiar, Peasblossom) have had to solve a different case in each book, the crimes varying from theft to murder while a gentle story-line of Shade’s past and the origins of her power continues in the background. Ms Blackstream eloquently weaves any pertinent facts regarding previous adventures and information learned into this one, meaning that Monster can be read as a standalone story, if you so wish. However, I do feel that as the series grows, you’d likely miss the nuances of knowing re-occurring characters and understanding the dynamics of those relationships.
You can read my review for the previous book in the series by clicking; Deadline – Blood Trails (#1) or by searching the tag #Blood Trails Series
So, what did I like about it?
Ms Blackstream has become a tried and trusted author on my bookshelf; I find her writing style intelligent and easy to read, her plot lines gripping and her characters captivating and believable. Monster did not let me down.
We hit the ground running with a new case for our heroine, Shade Renard, but right from the start we know that things are probably not what they seem. I liked the mix of tension and humour as we are re-introduced to the formidable Mother Hazel (a.k.a Baba Yaga), Shade and her familiar, the unforgettable pixie, Peasblossom.
I already liked our heroine, Shade, from the previous book, but she grew in my estimations during Monster; she’s proved herself to be intelligent, witty and has loads of gumption. I liked her perseverance and her maturity to admit her mistakes and learn from them. I also loved the fact that the secondary characters that Ms Blackstream created to populate her world felt just as real as our leads – they weren’t just filling the page – they all had the complexities that we’d see in those around us, they had a good balance of strengths and insecurities to make them feel real.
Although Monster is an urban fantasy tale featuring a host of paranormal species, it’s the detective/police crime aspect that kept me gripped; I enjoyed the attention to detail that Ms Blackstream wrote into this crime drama. The story kept me guessing as there are some unexpected twists and turns during Shade’s investigation that satisfied my Sherlock-Holmes-tendencies. I liked that it wasn’t all easy sailing for our heroine; there is danger, tension and some scary moments in this book.
There are references to Shade’s adventures from the previous book – Deadline – but Ms Blackstream weaves any pertinent information new readers might need beautifully into this tale. There are a few continuing mysteries about Shade’s past that are not revealed within these pages, but fear not dear reader no cliffhangers here, the murder of Dale Oliver is solved by the end of the book! (Woohoo!)
I loved the fact that Monster had me on the edge of my seat holding my breath with tension (and also with fear during a few scenes too, eek!), wiping a tear from my cheek, fuming with indignation and chuckling out loud.
So, ummm, was there anything I disliked about it?
I just wanted to say that, as this is a fairly new series there are certain questions left unanswered about Shade’s past, where her power comes from and what her future may hold. In my opinion this is a good thing – it leaves background story arcs that can continue to the next book and beyond, tying the series together.
So, basically what I’m saying is…
I really loved this book, more than the previous one, if that’s possible! It’s got everything that I look for in a 5star read; great action to get the adrenaline pumping, an intelligent mystery to get the little grey cells whirling, nail biting tension and well written humour.
So, has my review of MONSTER (BLOOD TRAILS #2) encouraged you to find out more? Just click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself or to find out more about the author. To see the other books I’ve read, take a look at my profile on Goodreads.
See MONSTER on Goodreads.com
Oh, before I go, I just wanted to let you know that I am part of the Amazon UK Associates Program. I don’t work for Amazon, I’m just a woman who loves to blog and share stuff but Amazon (and I) want make sure that you understand that the Amazon UK link that I’ve included in this post is “commercial” in nature (I get a small commission if you buy the book after clicking on the Amazon UK link I posted above).