Jun 15 2014 2:00pm

First Look: Alexis Hall’s Shadows and Dreams (June 16, 2014)

Shadows and Dreams by Alexis HallAlexis Hall
Shadows and Dreams (Kate Kane #2)
Riptide / June 16, 2014 / $16.99, print

My name's Kate Kane. And right now, I don't know which is more dangerous: my job, or my girlfriend. My job makes me the go-to girl for every supernatural mystery in London. My girlfriend's an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince. Honestly, I think it's probably a tie.

A few weeks ago, I was hired for a simple missing person case. Next thing I know, I'm being arrested for murder, a vampire army is tearing up London, and even my dreams are out to get me. Something ancient, evil, and scary as hell is on the loose and looking for payback. The vampires are in chaos, the werewolves are culling everything, and the Witch Queen can't protect everyone.
Which means it's down to me. And all I've got to hold back the shadows is a stiff drink, a quirky sidekick, my creepy ex-boyfriend, and the woman who left me for a tech startup. It's going to be another interesting day.

Shadows and Dreams is the second book in Alexis Hall's Kate Kane, paranormal investigator, series. Kate has, as you may know, a love life that is more complicated than a Gordian knot, but she manages to keep the entire ordeal spinning, as she tries to keep London from ruin and different supernatural factions from getting killed and/or killing each other.

What starts off as a simple missing person’s case turns into anything but simple as the book moves along. How it all fits together is brilliant, as each segment of the story seems to fall into place as part of the bigger picture. Hall’s plotting is tight. Hall’s characters are well drawn, with only a few of the periphery characters lacking depth, but used expertly for comic relief.
Hall’s writing, however, is the undisputed star of this book. Whether it the internal dialogue of our heroine rationalizing her behavior:

“It wasn’t so much that I hadn’t bothered. It’s just it’s hard to find a good time to tell your girlfriend that you’ve stabbed one of her oldest mates. I hadn’t exactly been hiding it, just hoping it would never come up.”

The witty banter just seems to make the pages zip by:

“Commendable.” He tapped the tips of his fingers together thoughtfully. “I doubt she would show such loyalty in your place.”

He might even have been right, but I’ve had enough of getting people killed. “Not going to happen.”

“Then we are done. You seem an honourable woman, Miss Kane. You are wasted on the likes of Julian of Colchester.”

I felt like I should leap to Julian’s defence, but I couldn’t really think of anything. She wasn’t exactly bending backwards to get me out of this, and she talked like I was supposed to feel grateful she hadn’t completely screwed me over.

“Maybe I am,” I said. “But, I’ve always enjoyed being wasted.”

That had sounded way better in my head.

Or the descriptions that seemed to bring Kate’s world, even the world of dreams, to life:

Nimue approached the gates and raised a hand. They swung slowly open, the chains that bound them slipping to the ground. Darkness flooded over us, and I couldn’t breathe. A weight on my chest. Shadows in the corners of my eyes. Everywhere the sound of wings.

Then Nimue cupped my face between her palms and pressed her lips to mine. I tasted her breath, spring mornings, and winter nights, the glitter of streetlights on puddles and the city’s pale grey dawn.

The world Hall created for this series is a London you’ve never seen before, but one that is startlingly imaginative and well drawn. The mystery, whether it is the one Kane is hired to solve, or the many she gets herself into along the way, will draw you in, but the characters and the dialogue and the prose will keep you reading until the end.



In addition to being an author, Alexis Hall also blogs for Heroes and Heartbreakers! See his posts here.

Learn more about or order a copy of Shadows and Dreams by Alexis Hall, available June 16, 2014:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at IndieBound



Robin Bradford is a lawyer, a librarian and, most importantly, a longtime lover of words. You can check her out on Twitter @tuphlos, at Collection Reflection, or Unpaged.

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