‘Dark Whispers’ – Firebrand #5 by Helen Harper

As the pandemic grinds on and my country continues to be managed (led would be a misleading word) by the corrupt, venal incompetents, I’m finding it harder to get the same value from my reading. I’m easily distracted and difficult to engage.

Maybe that’s why this episode of the Firebrand series slipped through my mind without making much of an impression, whereas I consumed the previous four books in a back-to-back reading frenzy.

This episode focuses on solving the murder of a human who has had his throat cut at the hotel where the first Supernatural Summit is being held. His death could cause the collapse of the summit and trigger violence against the Supernatural Community. Emma is given two days to find the murderer before the Super Squad loses the case to the Met and the murder is made public.

What follows is a pretty good murder mystery. Lots of suspects. Lots of tension. Lots of different kinds of Supes, including a view of Pixies that I enjoyed. I liked that investigation was made more difficult because the murdered human turned out to be so awful that almost anyone who’d ever met him would be happy to see him dead. I didn’t work out who the murderer was. It caught me completely by surprise but it made a lot of sense. All my favourite characters were there and I learned a little bit more about how the supernatural world works.

So why aren’t I going – ‘this was so much fun. You must read this!‘?

Well, it could just be my general malaise but I think some of it was that this felt like it was only a good murder mystery. It didn’t have the same impact as the earlier books that revealed more about Emma’s origins and abilities. But then, this is the fifth book in the series so a change of pace is to be expected.

Anyway, it was a good, solid three-star read and I’ll be reading the next book when it becomes available.

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