GRIM SHADOWS: Sexy, Spooky, Stellar!



GRIM SHADOWS coverRoaring Twenties Series, Book 2
by Jenn Bennett
eBook/Mass Market Paperback 352 Pages
ISBN 9781101636381
Penguin/Berkley 3 June 2014

Galley provided by publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. No Remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own unless otherwise noted.

It’s the Roaring Twenties in foggy San Francisco. Prohibition is on, inhibitions are low, and dark magic is rolling into town…

Archaeologist Lowe Magnusson is packing something everyone wants. The djed amulet, a priceless Egyptian artifact, will fetch Lowe a hefty paycheck from one of San Francisco’s wealthiest. But when the handsome Swede runs into his patron’s uptight daughter, what he once considered easy money becomes maddeningly complicated…

Cursed with deadly spirits as her constant companions, curator Hadley Bacall must keep calm to hold her dangerous specters at bay and prevent them from lashing out at anything—or anyone. Trouble is, Lowe is driving her crazy, but her father needs the artifact he’s transporting. While Hadley can feel the amulet’s power, she can’t fathom the destruction—or the desire—it’s about to stir up.



square "my take"This was an excellent book.  I had not been enthused about reading it because I really like Jenn’s other series and when I like a series by someone, I don’t always love the next series. But —


Hadley and Lowe are the two main characters in the story.  To me, Lowe felt a little ahead of his time in his attitudes towards sex and women; enlightened. His morals otherwise are pretty grey and I am not even sure it is an honor-among-thieves way.  But, his father made a conscious decision to become a bootlegger and so, his nice family became a family embedded in a criminal milieu. On the surface, though, they seem more or less normal — not like the Sopranos.  But, bootlegging was not a peaceful occupation, and someone had to handle the dirty work. But he’s an archaeologist and is returning from a dig with a magical artifact. That’s where the “Ancient Curses, Modern Times” I put in the banner comes in.  That’s kind of what the twenties were: the modern era smashing into the past like a wrecking ball; adding in ancient Egyptian artifacts highlights that even more.

As a woman in a man’s world, and with unusual abilities, Hadley is standoffish. She comes across as having an extremely large stick placed somewhere uncomfortable ( the appearance of having a stick-up-the-butt is still the bane of professional women, right?).  She is limited to being her father’s assistant at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco; but she is an expert in mummification in her own right. Bennett adds great details about both Lowe and Hadley and adds in side characters who are somewhat fleshed out — enough so I see them in my head.  Hadley’s father came across as a less mercenary Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.

The story involves villains by degrees, and Lowe, who is a con artist and archaeolgist, is really an antihero.  The characters are not “typical” nor are they so off the wall they are unbelievable.

While the story follows a tradition Boy-meets-gets loses-regains-Girl track, there are enough twists and details about life, lingerie and California in the roaring twenties to make it very interesting and exciting. Bennett immerses the reader in the atmosphere of old-time California  and makes that black and white movie past into a technicolor panorama.  I had a hard time pulling my eyes from my e-reader.

I also thought it had a really beautifully written love scene.  I was impressed by how tenderly it is written; the sex is not always tender but it is obvious the emotions between the characters are. Lowe is a really sweet talker and a really hot lover.

The Mythology behind the story is fascinating, and I really appreciated the ability to research words on my Kindle. There are so many Egyptian deities and sub-deities, dynasties and time periods:  I also appreciate the amount of research and imagination it took to come up with a story that was not full of holes.
I really felt good about the book: it is well-plotted and paced and starts you right off with action. Bennett keeps the twisty events straight and moves forward all the time. I really couldn’t find anything in the story I did not like and I could not find anything badly done; indeed it is a stellar accomplishment.



Relevant LinksAuthor’s Website

Bitter Spirits at Penguin Grim Shadows at Penguin At Amazon At B&N