Karen Marie Moning: Darkfever ( 2006) Fever Series I

My philosophy is pretty simple: any day nobody’s trying to kill me is a good day in my book. I haven’t had many good days lately.’ When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death – a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone – Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. 

What a romp. This was so much fun. If anyone has been looking for a Dark Fantasy version of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, there is good news, Darkfever is exactly what you have been looking for. This is the first in the series of this urban fantasy goes crime of Karen Marie Moning who is better known as a romance writer. Don’t get alarmed, this is not a romance novel although there is a certain undercurrent in it, no, this is a real whodunit, spiced up by some nasty supernatural happenings. There are also some explicit sex scenes and judging from Book Rain’s review, the series is getting steamier from book to book. I’m grateful I read her review because now I know that not only the series ends, but that it is rather like a whole novel in five parts. Although part one has some sort of denouement, the end is a cliffhanger.

Mac (short for Mackayla) is a very naive character. She is also clumsy which is a common cliché in paranormal crime. And she was definitely into the Disney Princesses as a child and still loves pink more than anything else. But having a character like that encounter dark and malevolent beings makes for slapsticky fun.

Trying to overcome the grief over her sister’s murder and in attempt to urge the police to solve the crime, Mac decides to take things into her own hands and flies from the US to Dublin where her sister studied. Before her sister died she left a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone saying that she had been wrong about someone and something needed to be found. All this is very strange and as soon as Mac arrives in Dublin things get even more mysterious. Despite an intense aversion she befriends Barrons, the handsome but moody owner of a book shop.He agrees to help her find the murderer of her sister but only because Mac can help him find an old and very dangerous book.

Mac, as she soon finds out, is what is called a Sidhe-Seer, someone who can see faeries and other supernatural creatures. This helps her to avoid that some encounters end deadly but it also exposes her. The moment faeries know she can see them she is a threat to them and they hunt her. Additionally she can spot magic objects and since absolutely everyone in this novel seems to hunt for the same magical book Barrons is after, they are all threats to her.

This is a fast-paced novel in which a lot of the action takes place in unlit streets roamed by dark creatures. It’s a decent crime story too and there are a lot of other riddles to be solved and characters who have a hidden side which makes it well worth reading.

In any case, this was a true guilty pleasure and I will definitely read the next in the series.