Title: Blind Tiger
Series: The Pride: Book One
Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Length: 238 Pages
Category: Historical Romance, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
At a Glance: Blind Tiger was one of my most anticipated novels of the year, and, as always, Jordan L. Hawk delivers a taut, suspenseful, and beautifully imagined story.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: 1924, Chicago. Prohibition is in full swing and gang bosses rule the city with might—and magic.
When Sam Cunningham flees his small-town life to try his luck in the big city of Chicago, he quickly finds himself in over his head in a world of gangs, glitz, and glamour. Fortunately, he has his cousin Eldon to teach him the trade of hex-making.
Everything changes the night Sam visits The Pride speakeasy and meets grumpy cheetah-shifter Alistair Gatti. After losing his first witch to the horrors of the World War, Alistair isn’t interested in any new entanglements, romantic or magical. Especially when said entanglement comes in the form of kind, innocent Sam.
When Eldon is brutally murdered, Sam becomes drawn into the dark underworld of the Chicago gangs. Sam must find the missing hex Eldon created for one of the crime bosses—before whoever killed Eldon comes back for him.
Together, Alistair and Sam begin the search for the mysterious hex, diving deep into the seedy side of Chicago’s underworld while dodging rival gangs. And as they come to rely on one another, Alistair realizes he’s falling for the one man he can’t afford to love.
Review: Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexworld -verse is one of my hands down favorite historical fantasy series (Hexbreaker isn’t my absolute favorite of his books for nothing), making Blind Tiger one of my most anticipated novels of 2021. The idea of him carrying this world forward into the 20th Century, to the Roaring 20s, to be more specific, to a Chicago made infamous by the likes of Capone, Dillinger, and Baby Face Nelson, was next-level exciting, and though no, none of those gangsters show up on the pages of this story, the influences of Prohibition Era speakeasys, rum running, bought-and-paid for cops, and tommy guns are still entirely alive and vibrant in its telling.
Hex magic, witches and their familiars come alive once again in a setting that, like all of this author’s books, becomes a character in and of itself. This is a gangland, post-World War I, post-Spanish Influenza, romantic suspense novel that orbits around found family, the emotional tragedies of grief and loss and guilt and the horrors of war, and then delivers Sam, a sweet and soft country boy, to the big city and straight into the midst of murder and a brewing war between rival gangsters. Hawk then complicates Sam’s life even further with a chaos of emotions wrought by a cheetah familiar, Alistair, who recognizes Sam as his witch, but who is, himself, so deeply scarred by a personal trauma that he’s vowed never to bond again.
Sam not knowing he’s a witch doesn’t uncomplicate things either. His parents never once show up on page, yet their odiousness lingers in every nook and cranny of Sam’s psyche, and he tells us things, heartbreaking and awful things, among them that he was taught to believe anything witch/familiar/hex related was of the devil, so he never tested. Alistair confirming Sam is, indeed, a witch isn’t exactly all the proof he needs, but it opens the door to a considerably important decision—does Sam want to form a bond with a familiar, and if so . . . with whom will it be? I loved how Hawk worked that bit of indecision into the suspense of the overall story, and loved even more watching Sam’s confidence and a steely determination begin to emerge slowly from the deep, dark recesses where his inner-voice repeats the lies and horrors he’d heard for so long.
With his usual creative flare, Jordan L. Hawk delivers a nuanced and layered story offered by and about characters who charmed me from the moment they were introduced. Sam . . . I loved him so much, especially as a foil to and means of catharsis for Alistair’s guilt, as well as a balm for his grief. They complemented each other so well, as Hawk’s love interests always do—the checking in and the slow and comforting way Alistair eases Sam into their intimate moments were both so lovely—meaning my off-the-charts anticipation for this book was much rewarded.
You can buy Blind Tiger here:
[zilla_button url=”https://books2read.com/Blind-Tiger” style=”black” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon & Other eTailers [/zilla_button]