Wicked City

A Zephyr Hollis Novel, #2

Zephyr Hollis is a well known do-gooder. She volunteers for cases she believes in and teaches at the ward school. Right now, she has two big issues she’s working on: getting Faust, a blood based drink for vampires, off the streets and breaking the bond she has with Amir, a djinn. With either issue she can get herself into trouble but with both, it’s a guarantee!

Amir was bonded with Zephyr when he was dying and she put her blood in his mouth. Zephyr only has to make a wish and Amir will grant it, except she hasn’t made any wishes and the magic is building up. Zephyr doesn’t want to be bonded with Amir because she gave him her blood. She wants a bond based on love and she doesn’t think she will have it until the blood bond is broke. Of course, Zephyr is also a little miffed at Amir for introducing Faust to New York.

Faust is a blood based drink that vampires love. Unfortunately, when it first was introduced many of the vampires went blood mad, causing wide spread killing. Now, it’s not so bad. However, when 12 vampires die in one night after drinking Faust, is it the drink or did someone put poison in it?

This riveting story is the sequel to Alaya Johnson’s Moonshine. Though you don’t have to read Moonshine to thoroughly enjoy this newest adventure with Zephyr, it does have a lot of the back story that would fill in the blanks in this one such as the circumstances surrounding Zephyr giving Amir her blood.

This series is set in New York City during prohibition. However, don’t expect a typical historical because this is anything but a typical story. Yes, the historical flavor is there with the speakeasies and tenements but there is a unique twist. Approximately 5% of the city’s population is Other; vampire, djinn, or something else. There are blood banks for the vampires and Faust replaces hot dog carts when the sun goes down. Maybe you could call this a historical urban fantasy.

Zephyr is the main character and she is different. She grew up with a father who hunts demons. She was taught how to be a Defender which is what her younger brother is. Zephyr though is fighting for the rights of the very beings that her family kills. She also wants to be independent yet she wants close friends. She’s complex which makes her not only unique but extremely interesting.

The other characters are just as unique. Zephyr’s brother lives in New York also. He’s gay but doesn’t want the rest of the family to know. Amir truly likes Zephyr but she doesn’t believe him. He also has a sense of humor that she doesn’t understand. Zephyr’s roommate, Aileen, is Irish. She also can see the future and talk to the dead. Each character has a unique personality and traits. There is nothing cookie cutter or stereotypical in any of them.

The plot is just as complex as the characters. Political corruption and bribes are common place. Rights are optional as the police will harass you until they get the answers they want. Women are not considered as intelligent or as important as men in many arenas. Plus, why are the vampires dying after drinking Faust? There are too many angles for this one to be simple!

I started reading this in the morning and had no desire to set it down until finished. It grabbed my attention within a couple of paragraphs and never let go. There was never time for the story to have a slow part or to lag in any way. Family secrets came out from places never expected which changed the course of the story. Everything came together for a dramatic conclusion that was absolutely awesome. And, then, the next book is set up.

This is urban fantasy at its best. Though it’s in a historical setting, the story itself feels fresh, new and vibrant.

Now, I’m so ready for the next story in this addicting series.

Book Blurb for Wicked City

In this page-turning follow up to Moonshine, it’s summer in the city and most vampires are drunk on the blood-based intoxicant Faust. The mayor has tied his political fortunes to legalizing the brew, but Zephyr Hollis has dedicated herself to the cause of Faust prohibition--at least when she isn’t knocking back sidecars in speakeasies.

But the game changes when dozens of vampires end up in the city morgue after drinking Faust. Are they succumbing to natural causes, or have they been deliberately poisoned? When an anonymous tip convinces the police of her guilt, Zephyr has to save her reputation, her freedom and possibly her life. Someone is after her blood--and this time it isn’t a vampire.

Night Owl Reviews Apr, 2012 4.50