Friday, July 10, 2009

Bone Crossed - Patricia Briggs


Bone Crossed
A Mercy Thompson Novel
Patricia Briggs
Ace

Urban Fantasy

This novel begins just days after the previous novel (IRON KISSED) ends. If you haven’t read that one (or the first two, MOON CALLED and BLOOD BOUND) then you’ll be spoiled – not just by this review, but by information contained in the first chapters of this book.

Mercy Thompson, mechanic by day, coyote walker whenever she likes, is recovering from a vicious physical and mental attack. She’s scared, and she doesn’t like feeling that way. Just to twist the knife a little, the local news has reported on the case. At least, what they’ve been allowed to know about it. It’s a shock when Mercy opens her door to find Amber, a friend of a friend from college. Amber, with her usual utter lack of empathy, says she read about Mercy’s attack and remembered that Mercy used to talk about ghosts and there’s one in her house scaring her son and could Mercy come and do something about it.

The local wolf pack Alpha wants her to be his mate. The local vampire seethe wants her dead. So much so that they’ve painted (or magicked) crossed bones on the doors of her garage; an open invitation for vampire attack on Mercy and anyone associated with her. Maybe getting out of town is exactly what Mercy needs. There’s only one vampire in Amber’s area; he’s a seriously scary dude and keeps all other vampires out of his territory. But, as long as Mercy keeps a low profile, one lone coyote shouldn’t be a problem. The first night at Amber’s, she meets Amber’s son, Chad, and her husband. Her husband, who brought home a business associate for dinner. A business associate who just happens to be the big, scary vampire Mercy was trying so hard to avoid.

The ghost is real, and Mercy doesn’t want to leave Chad alone to deal with it, even though he’s a brave kid. But bite marks keep appearing on her neck and she has no memory of how they got there. Vampires can do that. Since she’s coyote, magic is unpredictable with her, but she has no desire to be a vampire feeder.

Mercy’s life and the world of the novels are both fairly complicated, but the author does a great job of condensing the essentials in the first pages. This is a world where the supernatural exists. Some creatures are ‘out’ to the world, others are more hidden; and there are hate groups (humans, of course) who would like to eradicate most creatures. It’s a complex social and political issue, and it’s handled with a good dose of realism.

For readers who are new to the series, or for those who need a refresher since the last book, the author manages to introduce (or re-introduce) the main characters via introductions to Mercy’s mother. It’s a great device and doesn’t impede the narrative flow at all. The story is an excellent balance between Mercy’s mental/emotional healing, new situations, and action scenes. The narrative moves along so quickly that it’s easy to get lost in Mercy’s world for a few hours without realizing it. I’m always sad when one of these books ends, knowing there’s going to be a wait for the next one.

Rating: 8 ½
January 2009
ISBN# 978-0-441-01676-1 (hardcover)

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