Apr 24 2012 11:00am

First Look: Hannah Jayne’s Under Suspicion (May 1, 2012)

Under Suspicion by Hannah JayneHannah Jayne
Under Suspicion
Kensington / May 1, 2012 / $7.99 print, $6.01 digital

She’s the new head of the Underworld Detection Agency’s strangest division. What a nightmare…

Being a human immune to magic helped Sophie Lawson get promoted. It’s also made her a major, very reluctant player in a game that stretches beyond even the Underworld. Having handsome buttoned-down Englishman Will as her new guardian is one tempting blessing, especially since sexy fallen angel Alex is mysteriously MIA lately. But as a frightening number of demons start disappearing around the city, Sophie suspects that an Armageddon-level prophecy is about to become everyone’s nightmare. And her investigation is testing her bravery — and Will’s unexpected vulnerability — in ways neither could predict. Now Sophie and Will are fast running out of time as an unstoppable evil prepares to lay waste to demons and humans alike…

Hannah Jayne really needs to put a warning on all her novels declaring that you should not eat or drink while reading them, as it is a choking hazard. This novel is so full of humor, one liners and snarky comments, it must have looked like I was practicing spit-takes for an upcoming movie role.

When the opening lines of the story are “You’d think by the time a guy had gained immortality, he’d tire of copying his butt on the office copy machine. Not so.,” you know you’re in for a fun time.

Reminiscent of shows like 30 Rock and The Office, The Underworld Detection Agency in Hannah Jayne’s world is the demon world’s version of the Social Security Office. Demons of all types must register with their local UDA agency.

The Underworld Detection Agency not only keeps tabs on the general demon population, but we also offer such services as crossover support groups (going from dead to undead is third only to divorce and moving in terms of stress, I’m told), insurance on everything from graveyard dirt to heirloom family cauldrons, and protection benefits provided to all UDA clients that adhere to the bylaws of their particular sect.

As a vampire, Nina, was classified under the UDA-V statute, and requirements for her coverage included things such as no human sacrifice, no demon sing-alongs, and absolutely no feeding on humans or “turning” anyone without their express written consent and/or prior to the mandatory 666-day waiting period. In exchange for her compliance, she could expect an eternity’s worth of legal protection (from demon harassment, car accidents or separatist issues) everlife assistance and full-fang dental coverage.

Sophie Lawson is the only “breather” on staff. Since she is immune to all magic and glamours, she has a special place at UDA. She is just been promoted to the head of the newly established Fallen Angel Department.

Sophie is concerned when one of her prior clients fails to show for her monthly appointment and notices that several others have failed to show up recently. No one is listening to her warnings that someone is trying to eradicate demons, so she takes it upon herself to check up on things. When she arrives at the dragon-lady’s house and finds it trashed and smeared with dragon’s blood, she decides she needs to go on the hunt for this killer of supernatural beings. Since Sophie is a human desk jockey, and not a supernatural crime fighter, her crime fighting skills are more in line with an episode of I Love Lucy.

I edged the tiny spiral-bound notebook I kept in my purse out and balance it on my lap. The notebook was a nod to Alex and the police officers who always carried a little leather-bound one to jot down clues and pertinent information. Mine had fluffy clouds and glittery pink kittens, but it was still able to carry the badass clues a seasoned crime fighter like me could include.

Sophie’s life doesn’t become normal once she clocks out for the day; her home life is just as insane as her job. Sophie goes home to her co-worker and roommate Nina LaShay, a fashionista, flirt and 116 year old vampire. Currently, Nina is falling in love with Harley Cavanaugh, author of the new book Vampires, Werewolves and Other Things that Don’t Exist.

Nina bit her lip. “I don’t know, Sophie. Demon hunters can’t exist. Have you read Harley’s book?”

I was sputtering. “Wh-what? Harley’s book? Nina, Harley’s stupid book says you don’t exist! You’re in love with a man who has mathematically proven that you”—I jumped forward and battered her on the shoulder, to show how corporeal she was—“don’t exist.”

And while she tries to keep Nina from walking off into the sunset and burning to a crisp with her new love, Sophie’s on again/off again love interest, fallen angel and police detective, Alex Grace is currently out of town on a stakeout, and things start to sizzle between Sophie and her protector and guardian, Will Sherman.

I leaned forward, focusing on the stern set of his chin. I brushed my fingertips over the sprinkle of stubble there, and Will grabbed my hand and kissed it.

“Thought we were workmates,” he said in a throaty voice. His index finger gently tapped my chest. “Guardian and guard-ee.”

“We are friends, too,” I murmured. My eyelids felt heavy. “And friends can do all sort of things.”

Will Sophie stop the killer? How long can Nina pretend to be a real girl? Does Will steal Sophie’s heart away from Alex? It really doesn’t matter. In this series, all the fun is in the journey. Now that I have finished, I can finally drink, rather than wear, my coffee.


Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog http://ebookobsessed.com. Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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