Deadly Curiosities is fantasy author Gail Z. Martin’s first step into the urban fantasy genre. The story follows Cassidy Kincaide, the psychic owner of Trifles and Folly — an antique shop specializing in the identification and neutralization of dangerous magical artifacts. When seemingly mundane objects trigger a wave of fresh hauntings across Charleston, South Carolina, it’s up to Cassidy and her allies to find out what’s fueling the dark magic, and stop it.
Cassidy is aided in her search by two friends. Teag, one of her employees, is a master of martial arts who can weave both information and energy to suit his needs. With them is Sorren, a vampire who has protected members of Cassidy’s family for generations. I was a little skeptical seeing another urban fantasy where the female lead tags along with a powerful vampire guardian. But for the most part Sorren stays in the background and avoids the worst of the cliches.
Martin is clearly in her element when bringing the ghosts of Charleston to life. Cassidy’s investigation is peppered with the stories of pirates and smugglers whose deaths are tied to the evil threatening the city. I’ll admit, I’m a big fan of ghost stories and I loved the touch of character Martin gave to her haunts.
Unfortunately, as the book progresses the pacing stalls out. Between the ghost stories and magic infused battles, the characters sit down again and again to rehash information and review their plans. The writing, which flows well enough during the book’s action scenes, becomes repetitive and clunky in these sections. It’s frustrating to see these problems from someone with as much experience as Martin, especially when they distract from an otherwise fun story.
Despite the bog-down in the middle, Cassidy’s investigation does come to a satisfying conclusion, and urban fantasy fans will likely enjoy this peek at the spookier side of Charleston.
Review by Caitlin Seal
- Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Solaris (June 25, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1781082332
- ISBN-13: 978-1781082331