Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee is labeled as being “from the files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency”. I took that to mean that this might be the first book of a series. This is an excellent thing! Banshees are not usually charmers, but in this case of this particular half-banshee, if you like urban fantasy, you’ll be charmed.
We meet our heroine at a crime scene. Which is only fitting, because Mac is a cop. Not your standard, run-of-the-mill cop, of course, but a member of the paranormal unit. There are generally two kinds of people who get assigned to the paranormal unit–paranormals, and regular-type human cops who have really, really pissed off someone in authority. For a human, being assigned to the “freak squad” is an even worse type of career purgatory than Internal Affairs.
But Keira “Mac” McLoughlin is definitely a freak. She’s half-banshee. Her scream can be a weapon. When she wants it to be.
When Mac’s partner Amanda becomes the victim of a serial killer, her Lieutenant takes her off the case. He thinks she’s too emotionally involved to see things clearly. He’s sure that Mac is out for payback instead of justice.
But Mac can’t stay away from the case, so when she comes back to her place to find an Otherworld Enforcement Agent sitting at her kitchen table claiming to have more evidence about the killer, she lets him into her confidence, and they join forces. And Mac keeps investigating a case she’s supposed to be miles away from.
The more Mac investigates, the stranger things get. Even for an Otherworld Enforcement Agent. This serial killer should never have targeted her partner, because he targets the weak, not bodybuilder cops. But then, this killer seems to be a member of an otherworld species that is supposed to be extinct.
And that OWEA agent, well Aiden Byrne is not exactly what he appears to be, either. And the biggest problem with that is Mac’s feelings for him are anything but professional.
Escape Rating A-/B+: This was one of those books that was just plain fun. Within the first few pages I was absolutely hooked. It hit all the high notes of an excellent urban fantasy, the heroine was not just kick-ass, but she was interesting and slightly different, the hero was conflicted but not too much, and the world-building was gritty and real.
We haven’t seen a banshee (even a half-banshee) as a heroine before. Mac’s conflicts about her background make her perspective new. Aiden also has just the right amount of torment (I like a little bad in my boys, but not to the point of wondering why the heroine gives them the time of day!). And a world built on everyone knowing and dealing with the otherworld is cool.
I want to read the next book. If this is “from the files of” that means there are more files, doesn’t it? Please.