Harper / June 12, 2012 / $10.98 print, $9.99 digital
Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he’s an angel, but that doesn’t make him a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he’s been dumped back onto the mortal mudflat to collect another soul—Katherine “Kit” Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped.
Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let the sable-haired siren come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to solve the mystery of his own unsolved murder—and dole out some overdue payback for the death of his beloved wife, Evie.
Joining forces, Kit and Grif’s search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn’t Grif’s biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, along with the answer to the haunting question of his long afterlife . . .
“I don’t have to be strong," he finally said, refusing to dwell on it. “I’m dead.”
Vicki Pettersson just completed her Signs of the Zodiac series, and The Taken is the first release of her new Celestial Blues trilogy. Griffin Shaw is the series’ protagonist—and he just happens to be dead. In his previous life, Shaw was a private investigator. Griff’s current job as a Centurion (angel) is to assist the recently and violently dead to the Everlast—sort of an angelic guide—but he isn’t all sugar and spice; he makes one wrong choice and fate gets twisted.
“Living requires being known by another soul.”
By that one act, Griff twists the strands of fate and sentences a whole bunch of people to their deaths. But he’s not all bad; he tries to fix what he’s done and comes across a varied cast of characters from old mobsters to a vibrantly full-of-life reporter, Katherine “Kit” Craig.
Kit is a present time rockabilly chick, and Griff just happens to have been killed in the era when that was the norm: the pomade, the beautiful clothing and fast cars. Griff doesn’t seem to notice at first that much has changed, other than Kit dresses particularly well for someone of the current time. He truly thinks that she’s just a well-dressed woman, until he goes to a tiki bar with her for a memorial and realizes that people are celebrating the year of his death.
“Let me get this straight. You all dress up like you’re from the fifties? You—what’d you call ‘em, billies?—live your lives in the past?”
The rockabilly culture plays a significant role in the series, from Kit’s dress to her stopping in the middle of an investigation to stop by a hairdresser to get her Victory Rolls done. “Rockabilly,” according to About.com, "is a music genre and a style of dress heavily influenced by the 1950s. Rockabilly gets its name from combining ’rock ’n’ roll’ with ’hillbilly’; a term that came about to describe a type of music hybrid in the 1950s made popular by artists like Elvis and Johnny Cash.”
People who live a rockabilly life live nostalgically, right down to the furniture in Kit’s house. For Kit, it’s when she really feels alive, but Griff can’t seem to come to terms with people celebrating an era when they haven’t lived it. He feels that they are romanticizing an era that wasn’t all good. There was the mob, racism and civil rights issues. It was also the time his wife was killed.
Together, Kit and Griff make one helluva team—the reporter and the P.I. The Angel and the woman who is so full of life. The retro rockabilly chick and the real thing—with the rockabilly lifestyle almost another character because of the role it plays in the book. Now, excuse me, I must go practice my Victory Rolls.
Natasha Carty reviews Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy on her website Wicked Little Pixie and lives in Toronto, Canada, with her cat, Seamus.