Genres: Urban Fantasy
Series: Deadly Curiosities #1
Published by Solaris on June 24th 2014
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 a trip to a haunted hotel unearths a statue steeped in malevolent power, and a string of murders draws a trail to an abandoned section of the old Navy yard, Cassidy and Sorren discover a diabolical plot to unleash a supernatural onslaught on their city.
It’s time for Kincaide and her team to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.
I’ve heard about Gail Z. Martin for a while now but never got around to picking up any of her work. When she came out with an urban fantasy novel last year called DEADLY CURIOSITIES, I knew it was the right time to give Martin a shot. And DEADLY CURIOSITIES was an absolutely thrilling read.
The main character in DEADLY CURIOSITIES is Cassidy Kincaide, a psychometric whose family has a history of dealing with “spookies”, items with magical powers that are so dangerous, in conjunction with a vampire named Sorren. Cassidy also gets help from her assistant manager, Teag, an absolute whiz with data and with his Weaver magic. Cassidy’s a main character you can immediately identify with — very much a regular person, just someone who happens to also possess extraordinary magic. She’s the kind of character you’ll be rooting for from the start, and so are Teag and Sorren. Sorren is a very typical vampire in some ways — haunted by history, mysterious connections, sage — but Martin makes him come alive, giving him a very clear personality in just a few sentences. We don’t know too much about him by the end of things, other than the fact that he takes Cassidy’s safety and work seriously. I hope we’ll learn more about him in future stories. Teag gets a bit more page time and he’s a winner in my books. He’s a great partner for Cassidy, providing research and fighting support, and a good friend. Teag’s also the only one of the three with a stable romantic relationship, with a lawyer named Anthony who’s only vaguely in the know about the magical world that Teag, Cassidy, and Sorren inhabit.
In DEADLY CURIOSITIES, the trio face off against a rise in dark magic. Objects that weren’t “spooky” are becoming “spooky”, even ones that Cassidy had previously cleared as “sparklies” (i.e. magic but not dangerous). It’s a curious puzzle (if you’ll pardon the play on the title), and one that Martin writes very deftly. There are nice twists and turns in the mystery of why these objects are turning dangerous and I found it very hard to predict where each chapter would take us. The complex but well-written plot kept me hooked the whole time. I think DEADLY CURIOSITIES would satisfy die-hard mystery buffs, plus urban fantasy fans, since the main story unfurls in such an engaging way.
DEADLY CURIOSITIES sets the stage for what should be a really promising and exciting series. I tried to find out if there was another book coming in the series but there doesn’t seem to be any news online. There are, however, short stories kicking around so I’m going to buy one and see if these characters are as much fun in a shorter format. If you know anything about upcoming releases, please post in the comments!