Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publication date: June 3rd 2014
My rating: 4.5 stars
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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.
I LOVED Bitter Spirits so I was eager to get my hand on Grim Shadows. It did not disappoint! Grim Shadows is a wickedly fun paranormal romance, complete with danger, and mystery, set in the glorious 1920s. Jenn Bennett thrills again with Lowe’s story!
Lowe Magnusson is back home from Egypt after excavating a mystical djed amulet “purported to open a door to the land of the dead” but Lowe could care less about that. He just plans to sell it to the highest bidder, to get him out of some hot water. This is how he meets Hadley Bacall, a curator at de Young Museum whose father is the most promising buyer so far. Hadley is standoffish and seems to be wound very tight, but Lowe can’t help but be intrigued by this icy woman. They don’t get off on the best foot, but that makes it all the more fun.
Hadley is sent to meet with Lowe and arrange buying the amulet her father scoured Egypt for. Mr. Bacall is willing to pay a hefty price to Lowe, yet something about him gets sets her senses prickling. He’s charming, and gorgeous (my character picks), but he screams scoundrel. Unfortunately, Hadley’s father's plans insinuate Lowe further into her life. He’s hired Lowe to find the missing pieces of the amulet, and as icing on the cake the directorship of the museum once Mr. Bacall retires. Hadley will have none of that, because she’s worked hard to make sure that job will be hers. Working close together ignites desires in Hadley that could prove dangerous, because there are supernatural reasons she keeps everyone at arm’s length.
Lowe’s smarts, crafty imagination, and good looks make it easy to charm himself in or out of anything he wants. He has no qualms about bending the truth to do it. The clever cover stories Lowe concocts to aid in their investigations had me cracking up! Lowe was impulsive and always out for the next big deal, but we find out there is a reason behind that, and you begin to realize he is a good man underneath all the trickery.
Hadley was basically raised by her nannies and after her mother died she inherited the dark spirits that come out whenever she can’t control her anger. It’s easy to understand why Hadley wasn’t close to anyone. She’s never had any romantic entanglement stir up half the emotions and intense longing she feels for Lowe. Their encounters were delicious and lusty! Hadley and Lowe’s relationship starts out antagonistic with sparks of desire simmering just below the surface. Their banter had me laughing:
“Are you here to make my life miserable?”
“I’m here to empty your father’s bank account. Making you miserable is a bonus.”
Every interaction was crackling with heat and the sensual build up, and it was a welcome torture. I loved Hadley’s her secret frivolity that showed her to be a passionate woman in spite of her exterior reserve. Seeing her passion come out in the midst of all the danger was a complete pleasure!
Jenn Bennett continues to impress me with her writing talents. She transports you to the 1920s effortlessly, and it’s clear she did a lot of research on the time period and location. Yet, I never felt it overshadowed the overall story. Ms. Bennett writes realistic, multilayered characters, and a plot that keeps you at the edge of your seat. I can’t wait for the next in the series, Grave Phantoms, Astrid and Bo’s story!
About the Author: Jenn Bennett is the author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series from Pocket Books and the Roaring Twenties historical paranormal romance series from Berkley. Born in Germany, she’s lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the U.S., and the Far East. She currently lives near Atlanta with one husband and two very bad pugs.
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