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Monday, September 6, 2010

'To Kill a Warlock' by H.P. Mallory

Received from the Author

From the BLURB:

The murder of a dark arts warlock. A shape-shifting, ravenous creature on the
loose. A devilishly handsome stranger sent to investigate. Sometimes working law enforcement for the Netherworld is a real bitch.

Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She’s a Regulator—a
law-enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to keep them
from wreaking havoc in the mortal world.

When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she
must uncover the truth before she’s either deported back to the Netherworld, or
she becomes the next victim.

Enter Knight Vander, a sinfully attractive investigator sent from the Netherworld to
work the case with Dulcie. Between battling her attraction to her self-appointed
partner, keeping a sadomasochistic demon in check, and fending off the advances of
a sexy and powerful vampire, Dulcie’s got her hands full.

As the body count increases, Dulcie finds herself battling dark magic, reconnoitering
in S&M clubs and suffering the greatest of all betrayals.

Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy and works as a Regulator. Dulcie’s job is to monitor fantastical creatures from the Netherworld as they cohabitate with humans, and pull rank if these supernaturals get out of hand. Duclie loves and is good at her job... until a warlock she is monitoring turns up murdered.

Duclie is the last person to have seen the warlock Fabian alive, and is therefore a prime suspect. To clear her name and stop the murderer killing again, Dulcie takes the case on board.... only to discover a terrible escaped Netherworld creature is behind the killings, and on a warpath.

This is the second book released by Indie (self-published) author H.P. Mallory. The first book was ‘Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble’ and was about a witch named Jolie. Mallory does intend to release more Jolie and Dulcie books as a part of her Urban Fantasy series.

I've got to say I kind of wish that H.P. Mallory had continued with Jolie’s story rather than veering off and introducing a new narrator. Maybe it’s my highly anal-retentive mind that likes order over chaos... but I felt like I had just gotten familiar and invested in the characters of ‘Fire Burn’ and it felt a little abrupt to change protagonists in the series.

But on the other hand... Kelley Armstrong does the same thing in her ‘Women of the Otherworld’ series; keeping her characters in the same universe, but changing narrators for each book. The big difference is that all of Armstrong’s character are interconnected and know one another and there’s some cohesion to the narration-switch because of this familiarity. I was a little unclear on whether or not Dulcie and Jolie are characters whose paths do not cross, but live in the same universe.... or if they are entirely separate?

I did enjoy ‘To Kill a Warlock’. It reminded me a little of Kim Harrison’s ‘Rachel Morgan: The Hollows’ series for the crime whodunit at the books centre. Mallory writes a very conniving and disgusting Netherworld monster that takes the form of a beautiful red-headed woman.
“You might want to avoid that woman,” I added. “I’d consider her dangerous.”
Dagan laughed, and it was a sound you might hear someone make before they cut out your heart.
“I’m a demon, nothing frightens me.”
I shrugged. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
The mystery and murder-investigation was the big selling-point for me. Mallory weaves an intricate web mired in a world of fantasy and peppered with supernatural suspects to keep you guessing.

One of Mallory’s strengths is also her weakness, in an unfortunate double-edged sword. The plethora of hot men she writes. I love Mallory’s male characters; they are all delightful and devilish in their own ways, and if there’s one thing Mallory excels at, it’s writing a bad-boy. I loved the demon, Dagan, who owns a BDSM club called Payne. Mallory’s description of him was deliciously dangerous and drool-worthy;
Tattoos ran the length of his arms and most of his chest. The tattoo on his chest was a wolf fornicating with an angel. Really tasteful. My eyes met his.
But there were *too* many men for Dulcie to choose from.

There’s Quillan, her fairy A.N.C. boss who Dulcie has been crushing on for years now who has a starring role in her historical-romance novel-in-progress.
Knight Vander is a Loki, sent from the Netherworld to help Dulcie in the murder investigation. He is tall, dark and handsome and a huge flirt.
Bram is a vampire who runs the club ‘No Regrets’ and has been very vocal in expressing a carnal interest in Dulcie, much to her chagrin.
And then there’s the tattooed demon, Dagan, who runs BDSM club ‘Payne’; he doesn’t have any overt interest in Dulcie, beyond the fact that he screws anything with a pulse.

There are so many men, each with some small or large interest in Dulcie that the romance angle came on a little too heavy, and a case of ‘too much of a good thing’. It felt as though Dulcie had so many potential love interests in her life that no one man got enough page-time with her to form a deep HEA connection. I did like Quillan and Knight, but I also had a soft-spot for Bram... but my liking them seemed based on superficial things like their good looks or flirtatious manner. I would have been happy with only 2 clear love-interest candidates and more time devoted to Dulcie building intimacies with them.

This harem of men also occasionally had the effect of putting me off Dulcie as a character. If you have four men panting after one woman then there’s the expectation that this woman is pretty darn *spectacular* (I’m reminded of that quote from ’10 Things I Hate About You’: “What is it with this chick. She have beer-flavoured nipples?”). And while Dulcie is pretty cool, I don’t think her personality or general demeanour warrant the attentions of *FOUR* hotties. Maybe it’s also a case of the green-eyed monster rearing its ugly head, because as a women I was reading Dulcie’s plethora of men and wondering “what’s so great about her?”

I did like ‘To Kill a Warlock’. I was initially on the back-foot for my confusion over book sequence, but this second outing by Indie author H.P. Mallory is a solid urban fantasy with a brain-bending whodunit at its centre and a cast of men for readers (and Dulcie) to lust after.


1 comment:

  1. lol great review hon! i hope i get to read these soon =P

    oooooh ur readig Comfort food, Im dying to see ur review LOL


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