#FridayReads 2022-09-02 – Halloween Bingo Week 2 – ‘Soul Taken’, ‘A Killer’s Kiss’ and ‘Terminal Peace’

Halloween Bingo is now fully underway. I’ve read two of the twenty-five books and the first square has been called.

It’s still too early for the calls to determine what I should read next, so this week I’ve picked three book that were all published in August 2022 and are each the latest book in a series that I’ve already read all the other books in. One is an American Urban Fantasy set in Washington State. One is a British Urban Fantasy set in London. One concludes a science fiction trilogy that, although humorous in tone, has some dark themes in it.

This is going to be a week of comfort reading, catching up with characters I know written by authors I enjoy.

‘Soul Taken’ by Patricia Briggs (2022)

This square encompasses the vampire square, so any book involving vampires is eligible; along with any book that is set in Eastern/Central Europe: the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Serbia.

I met Mercy Thompson when I read Moon Called in 2017. I was eleven years late finding the series and I spent the next few years enjoying catching up with it and the spin-off Alpha & Omega series. Now I’m like all the other fans, waiting for the next instalment and wondering how Patricia Briggs will keep things fresh.

Soul Taken, the thirteenth book, was published on 23rd August and I’ve made myself wait until now to read it so that I could include it in Halloween Bingo.

‘A Killer’s Kiss’ by Helen Harper (2022)

The counterpoint to Terror in a Small Town! Any horror/mystery/supernatural/thriller that takes place primarily in an urban environment; includes urban fantasy.

I’ve read most of Helen Harper’s books. They vary from light cozy reads about indolent but talented witches (The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Magic) through to dark conflicts between Vampires embedded in the British Establishment and the demons and witches who oppose them (Bo Blackman).

Last summer, I tried her latest series, ‘Brimstone Bound’, about a Detective in the Metropolitan Police in an alternative London who works in the Supernatural Division responsible for policing the vampires, werewolves, witches and other ‘Supes’ who are tolerated only if they register and if they stay in designated sections of the city. It was the perfect summer read: relaxing, exciting, not too dark but with enough grit to make it feel that something was at stake. I ended up binge reading the first four books in the series pretty much back to back.

The sixth book, A Killer’s Kiss, was published on 30th August 2022 and I’m hoping it will give me another entertaining and not too dark read, despite the rather threatening title.

‘Terminal Peace by Jim C. Hines (2022)

Lost In Space replaces the Aliens square. It covers aliens and any other “space” being, but also covers mystery/horror/suspense/supernatural stories that occur in space – either “real” or digital (i.e., Ready Player One).

I like the way Jim Hines looks at the world. He takes well-established tropes and performs a sort of writerly origami on them that turns into something new and interesting without breaking them. He leads with humour and keeps the tone light but what he delivers isn’t fluffy. There are always darker themes swimming beneath the surface of the plot.

I first encountered him when I read his reshaping of the main ‘Princess’ stories in ‘The Stepsister Scheme’ and ‘The Mermaid’s Madness’ where he turned the best known fairytale princesses into dangerous superheroes.

Then I read his Science Fiction novel ‘Terminal Alliance’ which gave me a fun lead in to a world in which the role of the surviving humans in the galaxy is to clean the spaceships that other races go to war in. Seeing those cleaners become the heroes who saved the day was great fun. By the second book, ‘Terminal Uprising’ things had become darker and I was considering phrases like ‘The true enemy of Good is not Evil but Fear. Evil will battle Good but Fear will corrupt it.’

‘Terminal Peace’ concludes the trilogy and I’m keen to see where Jim Hines will take it. It’s bound to be somewhere interesting and unexpected.

Bingo Card Status

So far, I’ve read two books and am most of the way through the third.

I’ve had a small change in plan. As I read ‘The Story Keeper’ I understood that it’s not a good fit for the A Grimm Tale square I’d planned on using it for, so I’ve switched it over to Terror In A Small Town.

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