Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Welcome to My Life, Jack... Winter!

Yep... did you notice that switch? I'm talking about a guy named Jack, and it isn't that Reacher guy that I wrote endlessly about last year. It was last year, wasn't it? Honestly, this year has past by so fast that if I did read or talk about that Reacher dude he clearly didn't make much of an impression.

Jack Winter on the other hand...

He popped up on my radar a couple of months ago, out of the blue and with no warning. It was love at first read. And sight, if I'm being honest.

Jack was brought to my attention when Stephen Blackmoore turned his blog, L.A. Noir, over to author, Caitlin Kittredge. After talking about the next book in her Black London series, I found myself ordering all the books available and decided to have them read by the end of October. I mean, why not? October IS the month of goblins and demons and zombies and all the scary things that keep you awake at night, right?  And the Black London novels are about a truly badass crow-mage that has sold his soul to a demon to escape death.

Soooooooo... I read book one and knew I wanted more...

Read book two and was sold on the adventures of Jack Winter and Pete Caldecott.

Read book three and couldn't believe I'd gone all this time without knowing a thing about this series.

And then I read book four and found myself depressed about the idea of having to WAIT for the next book.

Oh, how I hate waiting.  *sigh*

In Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge, the first book in the Black London series, we meet Pete Caldecott. She's sixteen and spending an afternoon summoning a spirit in a cemetery with the incredibly handsome, overly-confident, and equally powerful mage, Jack Winter. Unfortunately, the spirit summoned kills Jack, forcing Pete to flee without him and leaving her to deal with the trauma of that day for years to come.

Fast forward 12 years and we find Pete Caldecott a detective inspector working a child-snatching case and chasing down a tip from an informant. And that's when things get interesting. The informant turns out to be... Jack Winter.

Back from the dead (if he was even dead in the first place), Jack Winter is no longer the strong and powerful mage that Pete knows him to be. He's a heroin addict... using drugs to keep down the voices of the dead that constantly invade his mind. He's also bitter, and carrying a huge grudge against Pete for having abandoned him all those years ago in that cemetery.

Even so, Jack has information on the missing girl that proves to be accurate.  And when two more children go missing Pete does everything within her power to help Jack get clean so she can use his contacts in the "supernatural shadow-world of the fey" to find the truth behind the missing children... and maybe even learn what happened to Jack in that cemetery so many years ago.

In Demon Bound, Pete Caldecott has resigned from her position as detective inspector and is now living with Jack running a paranormal investigative service that allows them to use dark magic for cleansing ghosts, finding lost souls, and even calling upon the dead for clarification regarding last will and testaments.  We also learn that Pete's sensitivity to the supernatural is because she's a weir *dramatic pause* and that Jack didn't just want Pete with him at the cemetery all those years ago... he needed her there to perform that summoning. 

Now, thirteen years have passed since Jack found himself dying and calling upon the demon Belial to save him. The poor guy was given thirteen years of life in exchange for his soul... and those thirteen years are coming to an end. 

But don't worry, ladies... Jack's a sweet talker. So much so that it's possible he may have found a way out of his problem without losing his soul. Not letting Pete know about the bargain he's made with a demon, Jack sets off for Thailand without her in an effort to pay back his debt. And using her connections with her former partner, Pete tracks him down and together they fight the powers of hell, but without the happy ending one would expect. So, so sad.  *sigh*

Which brings us to Bone Gods...

Unfortunately, Jack's been summoned to Hell and Pete is left alone in the dreary world of London to live without him.  But living without Jack gets a little easier for Pete when a bizarre ritualistic killing has Pete's former partner calling her for help in the investigation.

This investigation takes her to an evil underworld dance club that leaves her on the floor about to be trampled to death in the middle of a mosh pit, when suddenly... Jack appears. Yep,  he's back from Hell, and changed forever... and the poor guy doesn't even remember being released.

As they work together in another investigation, we learn about a turf war brewing in the supernatural underworld of the fey with necromancers threatening to take over and go to war with the demons. But the more Pete learns, the more dangerous things become, and the more she understands about her and Jack's role in how the war will end.

Wait. What was that? The more Pete learns, the more dangerous things become, and the more she understands about her and Jack's role in how the war will end. You see, Jack,  the all-powerful crow-mage, has been chosen to lead the army of demons in this war.   And Pete, well, she's been chosen to kill the crow-mage.  At this point most people would probably throw up their hands in despair and pack their bags and run. Pete, however... follows the example of her lover and makes a deal with the demon  Belial and saves Jack's soul.  This deal turns out to be a good thing, because having Jack around will prove useful in just a few short months (totally a spoiler, btw). *wink wink*

By the time we get to Devil's Business, the fourth book in the Black London novels, Pete is a few months pregnant, and the members of the supernatural world are not too happy about having Jack around. He's being hunted...  and after getting his butt kicked by a grocery store clerk, Jack's starting to think it might just be a perfect time to pack up and leave London... with Pete, of course.

And Pete has plans to do just that. With no work for their investigative business available to them in London, Pete decides to take a case in L.A. The case is concerning a family that was murdered in a home they were renting. The most disturbing part of the crime is that the pregnant woman's unborn baby is missing. Interestingly, there was a similar case ten years earlier and this detective in L.A. is determined to solve both crimes.

And, of course, Pete and Jack aren't in L.A. very long when the demon Belial makes an appearance to collect his debt from Pete. Turns out there's an "evil older than the black" haunting the City of Angels, and this evil is harvesting the bodies of the unborn to create their own little... I have no idea what they are, but when the one kid shows up in the book things got a little creepy. Like.. real creepy. And when they went after Pete and Jack's unborn baby, and Pete could feel the baby changing inside here... I totally panicked. In fact I found myself silently screaming; "DON'T HARM THE BABY!"

Will Jack and Pete's unborn baby be a vessel for all that is evil, or will they destroy the evil and restore order in the Black? Hmmmm... I guess you'll need to read the book and find out.

So there you have it... My take on Black London. I love this series so much I'm willing to share. If you think this series is for you leave a comment on the blog and I'll enter you in a drawing to win all four books listed in this post.

Street Magic is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Demon Bound is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Bone Gods is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Devil's Business is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

You can learn more about Caitlin Kittredge on her website  ----->>>  HERE.


Christine H. said...

Sabrina/Kate, Black London caught my eye obviously. The series looks very intriguing and sounds like Caitlin Kittredge does a wonderful job in describing all the evils of the “dark side.”

I’m sure these books will be devoured by Jacque C, Leah A and Vicki D. Good luck to those who win your series. Caitlin sounds like a very interesting writer. Thanks for sharing.

Mary B. said...

I am so excited! I have been looking for another good series to read and I think I have found it.

I read a sample on Amazon and cannot wait to read them all! Thanks for your wonderful literary insight and direction, you are like a little book angel sent from heaven!

jchrz said...

This sounds like a great series and just my might hold my short attention span. I love the whole combo of crime and demons put together. You have grabbed me and now I have another series to start. This is a great review for this time of year. Thanks Brina

Ginger said...

Sounds like a great series--and another sexy Jack to read about is a real bonus. Thanks for always letting us know about your great literary finds!

Caitlin F. said...

British characters and eldritch horrors? This series sounds like it's right up my street!

Christine H. said...

Sabrina, I should have also mentioned how great it is for us to always hear and see how you “get in and throw yourself” right into the story. I think you have found your new found hobby, and LOVE IT.

Thanks for all you do. I don’t always agree with the title of books you present, but I read your reviews anyway to see if something pricks at my ears to follow up with the book. You do a wonderful job. Thanks again.

Spencer said...

you need to read the latest reacher novel. it's an instant classic.