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Noir Murder Mystery Review: The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

The Taken by Vicki Pettersson (Celestial Blues #1)

borrowed from the library

Synopsis from Goodreads
Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he's an angel, but that doesn't make him a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he's been dumped back onto the mortal mudflat to collect another soul--Katherine "Kit" Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped.

Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let the sable-haired siren come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to solve the mystery of his own unsolved murder--and dole out some overdue payback for the death of his beloved wife, Evie.

Joining forces, Kit and Grif's search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn't Grif's biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, along with the answer to the haunting question of his long afterlife . . .

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond


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I have to say straight away that Celestial Blues is a very different series from what Miss Pettersson wrote previously, as in it's not an urban fantasy. I was expecting one and to my (pleasant) surprise discovered that The Taken was a sort of a murder mystery with slight paranormal elements and distinct noir-ish undertones.

To give it a better definition I would describe it as a love child of Carole Nelson Douglas and Chris F. Holm

Kit Craig is a intrepid small scale journalist whose family runs a local newspaper in Vegas. She is an interesting character, a rockabilly who loves living in the style of 1950s, a brave and bright woman with very distinctive views on what's right and wrong. Her and her friend Nicole are investigating a hidden prostitution ring on the outskirts of the city when Nicole is viciously murdered in the motel where she is meeting her informant.

Here comes Griff Shaw, who was murdered in the 50s and who since then has been promoted into a Centurion whose task is to take souls of the dead and help them to cross to the other side. He takes pity on Nicole and allows her to pretty herself before they go as the soul is mortified to spend afterlife the way she looked when she died, and while he waits Nicole manages to leave a message for Kit that starts a horrible chain of reactions beginning with Griff being thrown back into the mortal coil as a punishment and Kit marked for death.

Griff who never let go of his wife's death in the first place refuses to let another beautiful young woman die and instead of not interfering aids Kit in her investigation which uncovers more and more awful, gruesome details.

This was an excellent thriller, slightly dry, intense and dark. Kit and Griff are a great team and it's a pleasure to see their interactions as their views come from very different eras. Their attraction to each other might not feel romantic on the surface and lacks grand declarations of love, but it feels sincere for the emotional state they are in and the personal demons they are battling. I see strong companionship and great detective work in the future ;)

The villains in this book are not something to be taken lightly as well. They are chillingly real and truly evil, that's why you feel such a great satisfaction when they're brought to justice.

Overall, a solid, interesting read which I recommend without any reservations.

* * *
У Викки Петтерссон вышел совсем неплохой детектив с паранормальными элементами, который я с удовольствием прочитала. Здесь чувствовалась любовь автора к ретро и жанру нуар, да и сама обстановка Лас-Вегаса оказалась свеженькой.

Кит Крэйг - молодая, смелая журналистка, пишущая для семейной газеты и сравнивающая себя шуточно с Луис Лэйн. Она живёт в стиле рокабилли и вместе со своей лучшей подругой Николь расследует тайную эксплуатацию проституток на окраинах Вегаса, в которой как она верит замешаны могущественные люди города.

Внезапно Николь убита при встрече со своим информантом, и мы знакомимся с Гриффом Шоу, частным детективом, убитым в 50-х, который теперь служит Центурионом, мелким ангелом, помогающим душам перейти в рай и при этом не заблудиться. Сжалившись над Николь он даёт ей время вернуться в в своё тело, чтобы переодеться, но хитрая душа успевает оставить для Кит сообщение, которое начинает ужасную череду событий с отправления Гриффа на землю в человеческой оболочке и заканчивая предопределённой смертью Кит.

Грифф, который до сих пор переживает смерть любимой жены, отказывается стоять в стороне и дать умереть ещё одной молодой женщине, и вместо этого начинает помогать Кит в её расследовании. Несмотря на сухой слог и отсутствие громких уверений в любви, между Кит и Гриффом медленно растёт влечение, в корни которого легко верится. У этой пары видны задатки хорошего детективного партнёрства!

Злодеи в книге тоже настолько реалистичны, что аж холодок пробегает по коже. Они - настоящее зло, и когда над ними вершится правосудие, читатель удовлетворён.

В общем, книга добротно и интересно написана. Рекомендую!

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