Tuesday 21 June 2011

SHADY LADY by Ann Aguirre

Whenever Corine Solomon touches an object, she immediately knows its history. But her own future concerns her more and more. Now back in Mexico, she's running her pawnshop and trying to get a handle on her strange new powers, for she might need them. And soon.

Then former ally Kel Ferguson walks through her door. Heavily muscled and tattooed, Kel looks like a convict but calls himself a holy warrior. This time, he carries a warning for Corine: the Montoya cartel is coming for her - but they don't just pack automatic weapons. The Montoyas use warlocks, shamans, voodoo priests - anything to terminate trouble. And Corine has become enemy number one...

This is the third book in the Corine Solomon urban fantasy series. After absolutely loving Blue Diablo and Hell Fire, I couldn't wait to get stuck into it.

Months have gone by since what happened in Kilmer, and Corine is back in Mexico. She's back to enjoying her 'normal' life inside her pawnshop, and now has Shannon with her--a teenager from the ordeal in Kilmer. Together, they're getting along just fine. Well, as fine as Corine likes to tell herself she is. After all, she hasn't heard from Chance and is sort of having an online long-distance-no-strings-attached relationship with Jesse.

All of this changes when Kel Ferguson walks into her shop and saves her from being killed by a hexed object which mysteriously ends up on her doorstep. He's come to keep her safe.

Apparently, his boss--he claims to be a holy warrior--has sent him to take care of Corine because she's in danger, and that entails finding out what kind of hex was put on this object and by who. Of course, they know it's Montoya who wants her dead--a cartel boss from the first book. But what she and Kel uncover turns out to be a lot darker than what they expected, because a dark sorcerer is after Corine and won't rest until she's dead.

Corine is forced into a variety of adventures and doesn't particularly like the answers she's getting. She also manages to catch the attention of a rival cartel boss, Escobar. He's willing to offer her protection and payment if she puts herself in the position of bait and helps eliminate Montoya. But before Escobar agrees to save her, she needs to prove her handler power, and so sets off deep into the jungle of Peru with Kel beside her.

I got a real kick out of seeing Kel back in the story, and was very surprised when we found out who/what he really is. He's a character that stood out for me since the very beginning, and finding out so much more about him, as well as experiencing his interaction with Corine, has only piqued my interest even more. I really hope he returns in future books!

Shady Lady is a very exciting, fast-paced intense ride that once again manages to blend real-life crime cartels and their bloodthirsty ambitions with sorcerers, witchcraft, and magic. The blend took my breath away and had me guessing at every step, because Corine is faced with many hardships, impossible decisions, and even heartbreak. I love the growth and change she goes through with every book, making her stronger and wiser, even more powerful. But with this power, she's also weakened and loses people and things she loves.

Awesome book. Awesome series. And very well written.

This has now become one of my favourite urban fantasy series, and I can't wait for the next one!

Shady Lady: Corine Solomon #3, July 2011, ISBN 9780575093997, Gollancz Paperback

H&UFRC books read: 29/24

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