Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wraith by Phaedra Weldon

Wraith (Zoe Martinique, Book 1)
This looked like an interesting new author to try out. It's the first book in the Zoe Martinique Investigation series. Weldon does something just a little different as far as contemporary urban fantasy goes. Zoe is a fledgling private investigator, who advertises on the Internet for her services, and who does her investigations by astral projection; she is able to leave her body for a few hours and spy on things going on in the world around her.

While snooping for a client on his dot-com employers to see if they intend to fire him, Zoe stumbles into something more serious going on nearby. Following her "nose" she witnesses a murder taking place. A Vin Diesel lookalike in a trench coat puts a bullet in the head of an oriental man, and then "eats" his soul. Zoe manages to escape by rapidly returning to her body, but not before the guy, whom she nicknames "TC", grabs her by the astral arm and leaves a black hand print, like a tattoo, around her forearm.

Zoe's mother is some sort of sensitive, and owns a shop in an old Victorian house in Atlanta which has a couple of resident gay ghosts, Tim and Steve. Rhonda, a friend of the family, is a bit of an expert in paranormal matters. Zoe tells them some of what happened to her, and even though they urge her to stay out of the matter, she can't help herself, and decides to go out of body again to find out what's happening after she sees more about Tanaka's murder in the news.

She finds her way to the murdered man's boss, Hirokumi's office, and eavesdrops on a meeting between him and the detective on the case, Lieutenant Frasier. Hirokumi is mixed up in the spooky aspects of the case, and attempts to warn Frasier away without coming right out and saying it was a supernatural being that killed his employee. Hirokumi's personal assistant, Mitsuri, is also more than she appears, and she detects Zoe's presence at the meeting, attempting to trap her astral projection within a charmed Chinese dragon. Zoe escapes again, narrowly.

Zoe finds herself attracted to young Lieutenant Frasier, and once again despite her family and friends' warnings, goes astral to snoop on the detective. She finds him in a bar talking with the bartender and listens in for a while, but suddenly discovers that her encounter with "TC" has given her a new ability, she becomes corporeal, even though her real body is back home. She has a short conversation with Frasier, but flees when he sees the "bruise" on her arm and thinks she's been battered and tries to suggest help.

This novel just goes on and on with twists and turns and unexpected guests, and Weldon really sets the scene for further adventures (looks like there's a couple out already) with Zoe. It's a bit dark, and Zoe's stubborness and tendency to bull on into things she should have avoided are a little trying at times, but I think the series will continue to be fun. They're definitely something different than the usual vampire, were, and fairy fare.

1 comment:

Blood Rose Books said...

This Sounds Awesome. I love the Darker side of paranormal books. I'm going to pick this one up.