Why on earth did I wait so long to pick up this book? I enjoyed it so much! It's a fresh Urban Fantasy with a wonderfully flawed heroine. And two potential love interests that I can't seem to get a fix on... but I'll come back to the guys in a minute.
Annabelle Lee is one of the rare humans immune to the bites of fairies. And that is a very big deal in a world where fairies have mutated and enjoy the taste of human blood. Fairy bites can kill or drive a person insane; and only iron can keep the little monsters away. Few people venture out of the iron-infused cities. So when there is a problem that involves the fairies, only one of the immune can deal with the situation.
Annabelle works with law enforcement, helping them with fairy-related cases --or those crimes that require someone to leave the protection of the city. Her job is hard on her. She sees and deals with horrors and deaths which drive her to drink every day. She finds comfort in a small group of friends and her lover, Cane, a police officer in the Louisiana town where she lives.
The book centers on the investigation in the death of a little girl whose body was dumped outside the city limits. It turns out that she may be the latest victim of a serial killer, which draws the attention of the FBI --and Annabelle's former lover, Hutch. And so begins the love triangle.
I really enjoyed Annabelle's character. She's not a superwoman, or an ass-kicker. She is vulnerable and conflicted and damaged. Part of it is her job. Part is the trauma of losing her sister in a deadly fairy attack. And part of it is the fact that she was so heartbroken when she lost Hutch years ago, that she never really recovered. But despite her emotional handicaps, she tries to do the job she is so uniquely capable of doing. It beats her down, but she does it. As the book progresses, she puts her own safety and feelings on hold to solve the case and save a friend. But she doesn't exactly do it with style and, frankly, she makes a terrible investigator. She struggles and she drinks and she screws up, which makes me want her to find happiness all the more.
I went back and forth and back and forth in my head over who is really the right man for her. At times, I felt sure it was Hutch, the man who never really let go of her heart. The man who left her over a misunderstanding that she never explained. Then, he would be cruel or piss me off and I'd be sure Cane was the HEA. After all, he loves her with quiet strength and understanding. But then, he would piss me off or I'd wonder if Annabelle could ever really get over Hutch... and around and around I would go. One of them or the other. Both. Neither. I still don't have the answer, which bothers me a little. I like to have someone to root for.
I was very emotionally invested in Annabelle. Not only in her love life (which felt like a punch in the gut once or twice) but the action and the danger she found herself in. As if the fairies and a killer weren't enough, something more is happening to our heroine --something that's changing who she is. I can't explain or I'll spoil it. But I definitely didn't want to put this book down. The world-building is so, so good. It's different, but easy to understand and believe in. The story is sexy and nail-biting and has some really funny one liners. Plus a crotchety cat named Gimpy. I can't wait to start book 2.