Vicki Pettersson is a good writer. No two ways about it. She’s good at characterisation, she’s good at dialogue, she’s good at plot.
However, I have to say that this is not her best work.
Her two main characters are stereotypes (Strong, Silent, Sexy Guy With A Past, and Pretty, Plucky [but not too gifted with common sense] Heroine With Troubles. She writes them well, and in some authors’ hands they’d have all the emotional impact of cardboard cutouts. But Grif and Kit do have life to them. Enough that I wanted to smack each of them, but for different reasons. There is tension between them, and some of the scenes are extremely believable and well-written. However, the fact that they were so obviously tick-list stereotypes spoiled them as characters for me – their actions, while well-written, were predictable. In some cases, almost to the page. We had a bit more variety with some of the bit-part characters, some of whom I would like to see again – Ms Pettersson back on form, freed from the constraints of urban fantasy tropes.
The plot, unfortunately, had more holes in it than Swiss cheese, if you stopped to think about it (tip: if you want to enjoy the book, don’t think about it) and, without giving away any spoilers, certain important – even crucial – aspects of it showed a woeful lack of research. Possibly one of those instances where the facts that ‘everyone knows’ and therefore nobody bothers to check, turn out not to be facts at all. There were also a couple of occasions where I thought “Darling, your prejudices are showing, and it’s not attractive,” which is always a bit of a jolt for me, and spoils the book. Or maybe it was just clumsy writing.
So, to sum up, with formulaic lead characters who appear to have been assembled from standard urban-fantasy parts (angels are In, I think), and a plot that is more cobweb than kevlar, this book could have been truly dire. Luckily, Ms Pettersson is a good enough author to make it work, up to a point. Am I glad I read it? Well, kind of. Would I read the second in the series? I’m not sure. Maybe, if I don’t have anything better to do.