Matters of the Blood by Maria Lima
Rio Seco, Texas isn’t your average small town and Keira Kelly isn’t your average small-town girl. She born into a family of necromancers and at thirty-seven, has not yet come into her powers. Tired of her controlling family, Keira opts to stay in Texas when the family migrates to Canada, even though it means keeping an eye on her annoying human cousin Marty and his mortuary business.
Keira relishes her independence for two years before strange things start happening in Texas Hill Country. Horribly mutilated animals start appearing after a mysterious stranger purchases Wild Moon, a ranch outside of town, and converts it to an exclusive inn. When Marty is found dead on his embalming table with bite marks in his neck, Keira can't explain her true suspicious to the county sheriff because he knows nothing of the supernatural. It's up to Keira to figure out the cause of the recent spate of deaths while fighting off the advances of the sheriff, a former fling. If that wasn't enough, Keira has to deal with an onslaught of vivid and disturbing nightmares, which she recognizes as the first symptom of "the change," her supernatural coming-of-age.
Matters of the Blood starts out with a bang -- “I know the dead and the dead know me" is an intriguing first line if there ever was one -- and maintains a strong pace throughout. The novel has mystery, intrigue, and a number of unexpected twists. There is also plenty of sexual tension. Beyond a satisfying storyline, the novel is buoyed by a strong cast of supporting characters. They include Keira's brother Tucker, a sexy bisexual hellhound; Beatriz Ruiz, Keira's spunky best friend who owns the local café; Adam Walker, an enigmatic love interest; and Boris and Greta Nagy, a pair of Holocaust survivors; as well as a variety of vampires and other paranormals.
One of the things that makes this book stand out is how Lima leaves room for a sequel while still tying things up nicely at the end. Unlike some other paranormal series, this one seems to have been conceived with intent. While the mystery is resolved, the core story remains unfinished. Additionally there are plenty of interesting characters that deserve attention and a whole cast of family members at which readers have only had a peek.
My one complaint about the book is that, especially in the beginning, I really felt like I was grasping at thin air when it came to understanding Keira and her back-story. Upon reflection, however, I've determined that my initial response was a result of the fact that Lima was trying to create in Keira a more full-bodied character that could unfold in future books (something of which I wholeheartedly approve). In short, some readers (like me) will be disoriented at the onset, but if they persevere they will find Matters of the Blood compulsively readable and close its covers hoping for a sequel.
Read the review at Front Street Reviews...