Deadline (Blood Trails 1) by Jennifer Blackstream

Stars: 3.5 out of 5.

This was an interesting first book in a new (to me) series. It has the usual assortment of supernatural creatures living alongside ordinary people but puts enough spin on it to make this entry into the urban fantasy genre interesting. 

I loved the mention that unless a person is open-minded enough to even entertain the idea of supernatural or “other”, they won’t see it even if it smacks them in the face. For example, the protagonist killed a lobster monster, and of the two joggers who found her with the body, one saw it for what it was – a body of a monster, but the other’s mind made him believe that it was just a thrown out vacuum cleaner. 

It’s also interesting to see that people have different reactions when confronted with the supernatural and forced to “see” it for the first time. And in most cases it’s a shock to their belief system. Some even go crazy. Or that once you saw the supernatural side of life, you can’t unsee it, no matter how much you try.

I must admit that I didn’t love the protagonist that much though. I found Shade rather judgmental of other people and prone to jump to conclusions about others without any proof, based solely on first impressions. Not the best trait for a village witch who is supposed to help her community. Case in point – the old woman and her kitten. Had Shade taken this seriously and listed earlier, she would have seen the unnatural spell on the animal and spared the cat a lot of suffering.

Also, for someone who wants to be a private investigator, she sure makes a lot of stupid decisions and not much in the way of actual investigating. In fact, it seems like all of the clues just kinda fall in her lap. Honestly, she seems pretty incompetent as a witch and as a private investigator. It is implied that she is pretty young and inexperienced though, so I am willing to give it a pass in this book and hope that her character will grow and evolve as the series progress. 

I am also glad to say that there is no romance at all in this book. We have some hints at possible romantic interest later on, but that’s a story for another book. And I’m glad about that. I loved exploring this world and Shade’s difficult relationships with people without adding insta-love to the picture.

As it stands, I am invested enough in this series that I will definitely pick up the next book.

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