A 3 ★ on the Quarantine Brain reads. Or not; I mean, some of the typical PNR problems are all here: a fascination with describing hair, MCs that are always nibbling/chewing at their lips (their own); beautiful characters; a complete absence of the word ‘said’; and lots of ‘swallowing pleas’ for various reasons. Despite that, it entertained me and lured me into book two, so I consider that a win.
Shadow of Doubt is the start of a new series about the Potentiate of Atlanta-in Training, Amelie, formerly of the Necomancer series. It picks maybe a year after that series ended, and takes place entirely in Atlanta. Strictly speaking, it isn’t necessary to have read the Necromancer books before starting this one, but book 2 of that series will certainly help. Amelie, now known as Hadley, is on her own in Atlanta, enforcing supernatural law. She gets a call that a gwyllgi has been murdered. At the scene, she crosses official paths with Midas Kinase, the beta of the local gwyllgi pack. During a staring contest with him, their fates are sealed, at least according to romance lore. PNR lore means it’ll be one of those push-me-pull-you kind of relationships, and certainly, the remainder of the book bears that out.
Hadley and Midas are both deeply scarred people. I feel like there was some serious ret-conning here that wasn’t mentioned at all in the Necromancer series; had Hadley been an entirely new character, I would have found it much easier to go with the flow. Because of their challenges, although there is Insta-attraction, there is no Insta-Consummation, which may frustrate the average PNR reader. I’d call it a very slow burn, I suppose, which means much like earlier Kate Daniels, this book is more about the plot and Hadley finding her professional footing.
There’s a couple of points where Hadley sounds a lot like Grier in the Necromancer series… it could be because that’s just a twenty-one year-old voice. Or it could be because Edwards is pushing out her books fast and with ingredients from the standard pantry. In fact, given the apparent serial-killer nature of the opposition, the book feels a lot like the first Kate Daniels, Magic Bites. Take that for what you will. I will say the second was a nice improvement in all fronts, but the third isn’t released yet. If you like a completed arc, you may want to wait.