Title: Wormwood Summer
Series: San Amaro Investigations: Book One
Author: Kai Butler
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 369 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: I do so enjoy an intriguing and well-crafted Urban Fantasy, and this certainly is one.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Parker Ferro owes the fae his life. They’ve come to collect.
When the Summer Queen summons Parker to her court, the private investigator knows there’s trouble brewing. Trapped into compliance by his past debt, he’s tasked with locating a missing girl in San Amaro. Now he has to find the girl or give up his life.
Things only get more complicated when a very familiar cop asks Parker for his help on a case involving murdered magic users. With the victims completely drained of their magic, the San Amaro Police Department needs Parker’s special skill set to track down a killer. Navigating through San Amaro’s paranormal underbelly while dealing with his own past and this new case is the last thing Parker wants or needs.
Now Parker’s stuck trying to locate a missing girl, stop a paranormal war, find a killer, and resist Detective Nicholas King’s many charms. Here’s hoping he doesn’t die trying.
Review: Private Investigator Parker Ferro has ninety-nine problems, and a few of them seem to want him dead.
We get to know a bit about who Parker is right from the start of his story thanks to the seemingly infinite sticky situations he finds himself in. He has to keep us in the loop, after all, because we’re tagging along with him through all of his misadventures, so we need to be in the know. Parker doesn’t share his secrets with just anyone, though, and he’s keeping a fairly significant one close to the chest, one that makes his presence in San Amaro somewhat tricky. This secret doesn’t necessarily hurt his odds when it comes to sneaking around on behalf of his clients . . . not that he always gets away scot-free, of course. Because where would the fun be in that?
Case in point: things go a bit awry on his most recent job, which drops him in the middle of some hairy werewolf business, exactly where he doesn’t need or want to be, which leads to chases and escapes, magic and escapes, kidnapping and escapes, bargains and escapes, and fights and explosions and more magic and mayhem. Basically, Parker’s life is action and danger galore. We can see he’s a good guy, though, even if he doesn’t believe so, which might just make him a slightly unreliable narrator when it comes to himself.
On top of all this business in the human realm, Parker has been summoned to the Far Realm by the Summer Queen, to whom he’s obligated, and tasked to find a woman who’s gone missing in the human world. Between the fae (for which all the things apply: the bargains, the promises, the gifts, and who needs that?), the werewolves, and a whole host of other paranormal folks, not to mention a serial killer who’s bleeding people of their magic, and the powerful alchemist detective hottie Nick King . . . Parker is one busy guy.
Amongst the enchanting world-building and the near non-stop danger inherent in Nick and Parker’s investigation of this string of murders, they find a little time off the clock to get personal. One thing I couldn’t help but notice was their backstory felt a little light on the details, and, as it turns out, there’s a short story about their first meeting offered with a subscription to the author’s newsletter, which I’d missed, so if you’re interested in reading this book, in my opinion it’d likely be helpful to subscribe and read that first. That being said, however, I loved their opposites attract story, and the way Parker opened up to Nick, and that they grew to trust, and perhaps as importantly, trust in, each other. There were a lot of things to work through and around, and there still are, but I appreciate that Butler let them do it together rather than adding the relationship as another point of tension in the story.
Wormwood Summer has a well-rounded supporting cast, robust and full of delightful surprises that up the fantasy factor tremendously. I especially liked Parker’s foster sister and foster mom, who has an interesting story herself. And when it comes to setting a scene, Butler does so effectively with vivid descriptions it was fun to picture while reading. Not to mention successfully baiting the hook at the end, which will certainly mean more surprises and peril for Parker as he takes on a new and unexpected role.
A solid mystery, an abundance of action and danger and suspense, no few secrets, a diversity of magic and otherworldly characters, and some fantastic world-building make up a partial list of things to appreciate about this first installment in the new San Amaro Investigations series. I do so enjoy an intriguing and well-crafted Urban Fantasy, and this certainly is one.
You can buy Wormwood Summer here:
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