Review: Cursed Moon (Prospero's War Book 2) by Jaye Wells

Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: August 2014
Length: 370 pages
FTC: Borrowed from the library

I read the first book in this series shortly after sitting next to the author in the audience of an RT panel back in May. I really liked it. It's a smooth blend of mystery, police procedural, and urban fantasy. It's very light on the "woo woo" for those who are paranormal-ed out. There's a gritty, noir feel to the whole world which I adored. And I really liked the main character, Kate Prospero, a detective with the Babylon PD, a recovering potion addict, and a struggling guardian to a teenage brother. I finished book 1, and immediately went to download book 2...only to discover that it was a Hachette book and therefore way too pricey for me to buy in e (10!). So I set it aside and moved onto the next book in my list.

Fast forward a few months. I have discovered a nifty program at the library that is grant funded and allows patrons to order books available on Amazon. They ship the book directly to you. When you're finished, you bring it back to the library where they can add it to the collection. Far more cost effective than paying $3-4 in postage for every library loan, and unlike ILL, patrons don't have to front that cost. So, I decided to Zip Books this one and hopefully get it added to our library (which is sorely lacking in UF and romance).

This one was just as good as the first, although I did have a few minor issues with it. It's the Blue Moon, and the city of Babylon is going nuts. To make matters exponentially worse, a criminal "Raven" named Dionysus has stolen a large amount of potion from one of the criminals in the city. The potion makes people sexually aggressive, and leads to numerous incidents of rape and sexual assault. Tied into the thefts are a couple of murders. Kate's two bosses (one from the police department, one from the task force to which she's assigned) spend much of the book jockeying over turf, with Kate and her colleagues caught in the middle.

The characters are what make this book work so well. They're all messy, with their own issues. None of them are truly squeaky clean or improbably perfect. Kate is wracked by guilt over breaking her sobriety about cooking potions (in the last book) to save her brother's life and then keeping that fact a secret. Her brother, Danny, is angry that she didn't do anything (as far as he knows) to save him. Her friend is worried that the stress of the job is tearing Kate apart.

It's the mystery that is a bit disjointed here. It kind of meanders around with little sense of urgency. The murder scenes are kind of anti-climactic. The only ones with any urgency to them seem to be Kate and her partner, despite the impending Blue Moon and the threat of a mass casualty situation.  It's just paced oddly, even for a police procedural. I still enjoyed it, though, and will be requesting the next in the series through the library this week.

If you're a mystery fan who occasionally delves into Urban Fantasy, this book is right up your alley. I do recommend you start with the first one, Dirty Magic, although this book does stand on its own.

My Grade: B

The Blurb:
When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magical Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and everyone’s emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon’s impact is especially strong for Kate who’s wrestling with guilt over falling off the magic wagon.

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