In the first installment of R.J. Blain’s Booked For Murder urban fantasy series, the very bloody murder of Senator Godrin via exsanguination tingles the Spidey sense of bodyguard-turned-librarian Janette Asurellaworks for a number of reasons. He’s one of a half dozen high profile politicians to die in such a bloody manner, while she’s one of a handful of beings that possess the power to kill in that manner. Also pressing: His corpse lies on the stairs of her own library. She worries that her kind are being targeted, especially since the senator spearheads a broader effort to silence voices like hers. He had been pushing a bill crafted to severely compromise the magical population. Despite Janette’s efforts to trade her dangerous past for a more mundane present, she, like Michael Corleone, keeps getting pulled back in. Further complicating matters is that her former boss, the handsome bachelor Bradley Hampton, is brought in to sniff out who might behind the murder. Throw in much unresolved sexual tension and Blain kicks off a sequence of events that puts Janette’s life back in the fast lane.
A magical being with a penchant for fast cars, a background as a bodyguard, and the power to manipulate blood, Janette’s not your typical librarian. Blain’s treatment of her exsanguination abilities rivals any procedural’s blood-splatter talk. She’s also crafted an engaging, compelling protagonist, giving her a promisingly layered relationship with Hampton, who technically owns her as part of a for-life contract he insists she once signed despite her claims of amnesia.
Blain’s carefully detailed world abounds with twists and turns, all tightly and vividly drawn, all set inside a singular magical world. Her cast’s motivations prove compelling and even relatable, for all their magical prowess. For readers excited about magic librarians cracking a case, this will hit the spot.
Takeaway: A magic librarian sleuth takes on a compelling murder mystery in the first entry in the Booked for Murder series.
Great for fans of: Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bites, Shelly Laurenston’s The Unleashing
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A