Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Luna Books (Jun 2005)
C E Murphy (Or Catie Murphy, or mizkit) is not the best known writer out there. Since this is her first novel, then there's a reason for that - her name hasn't been out there for very long. On the other hand, this is now on its third printing, so there must be some people who like it ...
OK, so it's probably worth mentioning that, as in her Cate Dermody guise, Murphy writes a cross of whatever the genre is with romance. As Cate Dermody, it's thriller/romance. Here, its' fantasy/romance. Just warning you crusties who like hard boiled stuff, OK? Because, actually, it's done very well, and it works well as both.
Oh, yes, the story. Well, Siobhan Walkingstick (half Irish, half Native American) is a Seattle Police Department employee. She's not a petite lass, nearly 6 foot tall. And she's not exactly that feminine, being a mechanic in love with working on cars. But, she's pretty level headed, despite the potential of both the Celtic and Amerindian heritages. She likes what she can understand, and what she can understand is nuts and bolts, oils and greases. Oh, and that name. Nope, not practical - she calls herself Joanne Walker.
But, sometime late or early - it's difficult to really say what it is - she's returning on a flight back into Seattle, descending for the landing, when she somehow manages to see a woman on the ground, being pursued by some creatures. After landing, she attempts to make her way back to the place, convinced she somehow managed to witness a crime and, being nominally a policewoman even if normally a car mechanic, determined to find out what. And when it turns out to be the Wild Hunt, well, things have to change. Or, more importantly, she has to change, and to recognise that she has to pick up that birthright of hers, even if that birthright is confused as to whether it's a coyote-led shamanism, or something from deep Celtic roots.
The whole thing could have been deeply irritating. I'm not the world's greatest fan of this style of fantasy. But it works, for me. I like Joanne - she's a doubter, even past the end of this volume she doubts. And she's surrounded by people who aren't woo woo people. One of the main male characters is a should-be-retired taxi driver. And when it comes down to it, it's the characters that matter, and here, you're made to care about the characters.
Oh, and yes, the author is one of the outright nicest people I know. She's Guest of Honour for the next Phoenix Con in Dublin, and when this was announced during the closing ceremony of the previous one, there was a standing ovation, during which she blushed very prettily next to me. She now lives down in Cobh, near Cork, having moved to Ireland from Alaska, an update that has yet to reach the author bio part of the third volume in this series.
First of, to date, three novels mixing the Romance and Fantasy genres to good effect.