I had the great good fortune to read an advance copy of the latest book in Jess Haines H&W Investigations series recently. If you've ever hesitated to check out Urban Fantasy as a genre, I wrote a post (just scroll back, I don't blog that often) in December about why you should give it a go.
The H&W series, as a whole, has become increasingly tense and exciting as the books have progressed and while Haines is strong writer all the way though, I feel that in the third book she found her stride and has been steadily upping the pace ever since (FbtO will be the fifth in the series when it releases in July). Simply put: this series just keeps getting better.
The book opens on the morning after. The morning after Shiarra Waynest almost died throwing herself at a frantic (and likely misguided) effort to wipe out "Others" (non-humans like vampires, mages, werewolves and so on) she perceives to be a threat to her well-being. The morning after she loses a magical artifact that almost destroyed her as she grew to rely on its power. The morning after some serious between-the-sheets action with someone she's not so sure about now. Shiarra's problems seem to be laid out in front of her: Bad decisions, questionable associates, relationships. But Royce, the vampire who has been her boss, her enemy, her target and more recently maybe something else, has news. Shiarra's problems are really just beginning; Royce has some pretty powerful enemies and they're headed straight for Ms Waynest.
Trying to head off danger, Royce sends Shiarra and her sleuthing partner Sara off to the other side of the country to stay with Clyde Seabreze, who is ostensibly an ally of Royce's. I don't think I'm giving too much away to tell you that Clyde is not such a great guy. Now Sara and Shiarra need to keep Clyde happy, solve some local issues in LA and try to keep themselves in one piece while Royce sorts out his problems. Of course nothing is easy when humans get mixed up in Others business, and Clyde's got enemies of his own that create big problems for Sara and Shiarra. So the ladies are off on another job, in unfamiliar territory, with no reliable allies and with Sara harboring a terrible secret she won't even share with her business partner. Did I mention that there are zombies? There are zombies. What else do you need to know?
If you haven't caught up on the first four books in the series, now is the time to grab them from your local indie bookseller. If you're eagerly awaiting book five, I promise you it will not disappoint, and will leave you desperate to read book 6. (Which isn't written yet...the wait may kill me).