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  • Writer's picturechristinerainswrit

Review for Guardian of Monsters: Sleuths of Shadow Salon #1

Blurb: Celestine, witch and wolf shifter has a talent for prophetic drawings. She’s shocked when she draws her landlord Ray with his eyes gouged out and a strange winged-mermaid leaning over him. Later she finds an eyeless Ray dead on the sidewalk. All she wanted to do was open a gallery, but first she must apprehend his killer. In a posthumous note, Ray wrote he wasn’t just a leather-smith but a supernatural pirate mage. Years back, his Jekyll crew trapped the evil Demon Three Eyes clan. Ray feared they’d escaped, were stalking him, and would soon wreak havoc on Savannah.

Oryn, a fellow student in Celestine’s continuing ed art class, is a fae and a thorn in her side, when he asks nosy questions about the case. Yet, she’s drawn to him when he’s her masseur at the spa she frequents, and he’s clever at brainstorming leads regarding Ray’s case. He insists his air magic could come in handy.

When pirates in Ray’s old crew are murdered, their body parts stolen, Celestine puts more horrifying clues together. She’ll need everyone on board, including Luna, a mermaid asking to show her sea-glass sculptures at Celestine’s new gallery—and the very same mermaid in Celestine’s tragic drawing of Ray. Otherwise, the lethal monstrosity Demon Three Eyes is unleashing on Savannah will destroy the city and everyone in it.

Review: Celestine LeBlanc has come to Savannah with hopes of settling down in the beautiful city and opening her own art gallery, but the violence from an old war entangles her when her landlord and friend Ray is brutally murdered. She is a witch and wolf shifter who has a talent for prophetic drawings, but they don't give her all the answers she needs as she searches for his killer. With help from a winged mermaid and a gorgeous fae, they uncover a dark plot by the evil Demon Three Eyes clan and a history of magical pirates. Celestine and her friends must unravel the mystery and save the city from Vex Blade's foul magic.

This is the first book in the urban fantasy series, Sleuths of Shadow Salon (I love that name. Amazing alliteration!), and it was so much fun. The setting is beautifully described and drew me into the city of Savannah. I know the author, Catherine Stine has been to the city herself, and the little details brought Savannah to vivid life. Celestine has a lot of heart and won't give up as she tries to find out what happened to Ray. I liked the moments when she was talking to the dead and how the magic overtakes her when she is drawing a prophetic piece. Plus, she's a wily wolf as well as being a witch! Her friends are quirky, and it just makes them all the more endearing. Aline and her pajama wearing style! Plus Luna, a most beautifully unusual supernatural, with her sea glass. It was fantastic that Catherine tied this book to a few of her previous ones with Celestine and Luna being the daughters of couples in her other stories. You don't have to read the other books to enjoy this one, but as a fan, I was giddy about it. I love the originality of pirate mages and having supernatural crews, and how there is a huge history there lurking behind the story that I would really like to read about. Of course there is some sizzling romance between Celestine and Oryn, the hot fae, and a big twist around it. Lots of action and mystery. I can't wait for more in this series.

You can find Catherine Stine on her site and buy the book here.

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