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#223 C. E. Murphy: Heart of Stone (The Negotiator Series #1)

C. E. Murphy: Heart of Stone (The Negotiator Series #1)

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Luna Books (Nov 2007)
ISBN-10: 0373802927
ISBN-13: 978-0373802920
Category(ies): Fantasy

Catie Murphy has followed up her Walker Papers series (urban fantasy, where a cop discovers she's also a shaman) with a different setup, yet one that is also urban fantasy with romantic tinges. Our heroine here, Margrit Knight, contrasts with Joanne Walker in being diminutive rather than tall, and being a lawyer having distinct problems with her detective boyfriend. However, like Walker, she comes from a racially mixed background - in this case being café latte in colour, in that ethnic valley somewhere between 'white' and 'black', with maybe a dash of 'red'.

As a lawyer, she works legal aid. And she does long hours, letting off steam by running in Central Park after work. That may be unwise, when it's often dark by then, but she's fit and nothing has happened yet. And nothing does happen, not until the night when she encounters a man. And later finds that another woman was brutally murdered in the park around that time.

The person she has encountered, though, insists he is innocent, but refuses to go to the police. The reason for that? He's a Gargoyle, and trying to explain why he turns to stone during the daylight hours would be difficult. In fact, Grit discovers there are five Old Races around, the Selkie, the Dragons, the Djinn, the Gargoyles, and the Vampires. And Grit ends up having to deal with them all, including crime kingpin Janx.

I enjoyed this, reading it in one session. It's nicely paced, with the revelations of what's going on coming steadily without being too stretched or too sudden. Grit's relationship with cop Tony is rocky, but not without hope. She leaves some hostages to the future, but she has also stored up credit with major players, and it will be interesting to see how the series evolves, given the promise that she is the Negotiater, a neutral go between for the Old Races.

I'm now waiting for more of that Old Janx Spirit.
Tags: books, books by friends, reviews
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