To Sleep with Stones is an edgy, urban fantasy. For the uninitiated “urban fantasy is a hybrid genre that lives at the crossroads between fantasy, horror, hard-boiled thriller and romance. Every urban fantasy involves supernatural beings and/or beings with magical abilities yet it’s rooted in reality.” (A. J.Blakemont)
To Sleep with Stones, a virtual smorgasbord has something for everyone: an archaeological dig in Scotland, action, suspense, an intense anti-hero, and a murder mystery to solve. Hawkin’s first chapter explodes with the promise of perilous adventure. From the discovery of the priceless Egyptian artifact to the Wiccan solstice; she had me at “Aye”.
To Sleep with Stones is True Blood meets Outlander. Prepare yourself for steamy LGBT love scenes, unique vampires, and a journey through Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. Hawkin’s edginess shows in the unbridled eroticism of the Wiccan solstice, flame-haired Sorcha’s seduction of Dylan McBride, “the sweet peach”, Michael Stryker’s flirtation with Vampire, and the escapades of sensuous free-spirited Estrada.
Set in Argyll, along the southwest coast of Scotland near Glasgow, it opens with a brilliant find, a jewelled broad collar, worn by the daughter of Queen Nefertiti. After site boss and head archeologist, Sorcha, discovers the gold broad collar she deems her ticket to fame, she takes her crew to an Oban pub to celebrate. On the upstairs pub patio, the feisty beauty seduces young archaeology student Dylan McBride. He is later accosted by Glasgow journalist, Alastair Steele, who caught them in the act on his cell.
Later that night of summer solstice, Dylan goes out to commune with the standing stones.
. . . he leaned back against the cool three-thousand-year old rock . . . For thousands of years, humans had worshipped, as he did now, on this sacred landscape . . . When Dylan McBride leaned his palm against a stone it revealed its secrets. Sometimes he heard voices, sometimes he saw visions. (15)
Dylan can sense memories of people who worshipped there and he sees Egyptian princess, Meritaten, in her gold broad collar. Next, he is arrested, cuffed and dragged from the field at Ballymeanoch—jailed for the murder of Alastair Steele. His grandfather contacts Estrada.
Hawkin introduced Estrada in To Charm a Killer. Performer, magician, and High Priest of Hollystone Coven, he flies to Scotland in aid of his friend, Dylan. In leathers astride his Harley we witness the black avenging angel. The image of the angel wings tattooed across his back serves as a brilliant metaphor and serves as the cover for this book.
In evocative mystical scenes, our high priest becomes the horned god – Cernunnos (fertility god/adorned in antlers - spirit of the hunt) and meets the Celtic Oak King. Later, in the Taynish woods on a quest for an oak branch, he reconnects with Primrose his faerie love and we glimpse his tenderness.
Sorcerer. The voice was faint at first, evanescent, a lilting on the breeze, and he thought he’d imagined it. Sorcerer. He heard it again: higher, louder, clearer, the tone teasing and he whirled around, searching for her. There was only one woman who called him by that name, whose cadences were flecked with old Irish. (96)
Though the second book in the series; this novel stands alone. Hawkin has flawlessly woven in essential background and characters from her first novel as well as introducing new ones: a female detective (Rachel Steele), a half-fey Druid dwarf who deals in Scottish antiquities (Magus Dubh), and a rough Viking (Kai Roskilde) – a rival for Dylan. Though her characters are fictional, her settings are authentic: Argyll, Kilmartin Glen (rife with cairns and stone circles), Ballymeanoch (megaliths), and Her Majesty’s prison Greenock.
Hawkin’s tight and well-paced writing and knowledge of Celtic myths (Robert Graves, The White Goddess) combine with multi-layered characters, lush language and plot twists and turns, to draw the reader in. No spoiler alert – the ending is surprising and satisfying. In fact, the hallmark of this novel is the author’s seamless interweaving of myth and reality. She appeals to our intellect and our desire for vicarious adventure.
Visit W. L. Hawkin at http://bluehavenpress.com