Before I get into the specifics, I have to say that books like these are the reason I keep my door open to indie authors. Fire Baptized
flies in the face of self-published stereotypes. It's fresh and unique. It has great character development, a fantastic plot, and steamy love interests. It's unpredictable; it has great pacing; and it clearly had a proficient editor.
Our heroine is Lanore, a mixed breed supernatural, who lives in the caged ghettos where humans relegate the preternatural community. Like other "mixies," she is looked down upon by the full-blood supes. But she is trying to make something of her life, going to college, while living with her ex-boyfriend and longtime friend MeShack. She is also trying to make things better for others of her kind, working with MFE, a mixie-rights organization. Things are going fairly well for her, until she witnesses a murder in a back alley.
Generally, Lanore's ability to wield fire can save her from most dangerous situations. But she is in real danger, once the killer recognizes her and seeks her out. It turns out that our bad guy is actually a serial killer. And since no one cares much about what happens to the mixies, Lanore takes it upon herself to solve the case. She has MeShack at her back --as well as Zulu, the head of MFE and a potential love-interest.
I'm not going to spoil the particulars of the murder-mystery. But I will say it's very well done. I didn't figure out the identity of the killer, but it made perfect sense once all was revealed. I'll also take a moment to talk about the love-triangle between Lanore, MeShack, and Zulu. Usually, I hate love triangles, but this one worked. Personally, I am in the Zulu camp, but I can see how some might root for MeShack. The action is definitely the forefront of the book, but the relationship issues are woven in seamlessly --and are an integral part of the story.
One other thing to mention is the diversity among the characters. Our heroine is African-American and the supporting cast features an array of ethnicities. It's just another way this story escapes the cookie-cutter feel of so many other books flooding the genre.
I thought it was fantastic and I can't wait to read the next installment. *ARC provided by author for review