Occasionally I like to browse the Kindle store and download a free book to try out a new author or series. So far I have about a 50/50 success rate with these free books. One of my surprisingly good finds was Witch Hunt by S.M. Reine, the first book in her Preternatural Affairs series.
A brutal murder.
There are scratches on Cèsar Hawke’s arms, a discharged Glock on his coffee table, and a dead woman in his bathtub. Yeah, maybe he brought the waitress home for some fun — he was too drunk to remember it — but he knows for a fact that he didn’t kill her. He’s an agent with the Office of Preternatural Affairs. He doesn’t hurt people. He saves them.
The cops disagree. Now Cèsar is running.
The search for a shaman.
Isobel Stonecrow speaks with the dead…for the right price. She brings closure to the bereaved and heals broken hearts. But when she resurrects someone for the wrong client, she ends up on the OPA’s most wanted list.
One risky solution.
Tracking down Isobel is the last case assigned to Cèsar before he bolts. If he finds her, he can prove that he didn’t kill that waitress. He can clear his name, get his job back, and bring justice to the victim.
She’s just one witch. Cèsar has bagged a dozen witches before.
How hard can one more be?
I liked this book so much that when I was finished with it, I bought the second ebook in the series and started reading it immediately. The male protagonist is a witch and works for a secret government order that hunts down witches who misuse their powers. Basically he’s a witch cop hunting down white collar criminals when he is accused of a murder he doesn’t think he committed. With no one coming to rescue him, he must take his detective skills and solve his first murder in order to clear his name.
Witch Hunt reminded me of the Dresden series without being a copycat. Cèsar is a good male lead. Cèsar may be a little clueless as he discovers areas of his universe he never knew about before, but as he learns new information the reader experiences a fun peek into a well thought out universe. While a rather grisly tale of murder, demons, and bad witches, the story has more than a few bright spots of humor and tongue in cheek wit that keeps the tone light and urban fantasy rather than horror. Plus, Cèsar has an affection for the cancelled television show Firefly, how can you not love him?
The murder mystery solving is fast paced and adventure packed. I was never bored, in fact I finished the book in one day. Reine’s writing is good and she knows how to keep pace while giving enough exposition to engage the reader in the universe. If you like the Dresden Files series and urban fantasy in general check out this paranormal mystery series, a fun, engaging read.