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Review of Theater of Curses

Blurb: Shadow Salon detectives Luna and Celestine take on their second case, when Tim Calhoun insists his Conservatory of Theater Arts has been cursed, and the police have come up dry. He claims a red specter is terrorizing him, upturning his library of historic plays, setting fires in the theater, even brutalizing him. Tim is desperate to solve this terrifying mystery before Hollywood directors and agents flock to Savannah to watch his students perform and hopefully sign them.

The 1811 anonymous play is The Romance of the Recording Angels. Hazardous incidents follow rehearsals. Luna interviews students, inspects dorms and the library, where she unearths a copy of the play with strange red notations. She hires Arthur Dodge, a necro-visionary to find out who drew them. The shocking entity he resurrects reveals that three aerial realms must be unlocked to end an actual curse. But as time runs out, where the realms are, what must be done in them and just why the curse was inflicted remains a mystery.

To uncover clues, Luna uses her water magic and flight skills, while resisting her growing attraction to client, Tim. Celestine shares tips from her automatic drawings. As time runs out, Luna must try Dodge’s visionary tea, Hoodoo Root Worker, Selka Dupree’s spell jars, and farmer Crow Dao’s lessons in realm jumping. If Luna fails to reach the realms, the conservatory will be shuttered, the curse will spread… and worse.

Review: Private investigator Luna Finley is called to a case at a theater arts college where they believe the play they're performing is cursed. It's more than just a ghost who dislikes theater. The red specter doesn't want anyone to know of his history as portrayed in the play, but Luna has magical ways of finding the truth. With the help of her supernaturally talented friends, Luna uncovers the clues, but can she defeat the red specter in his games at his own realms? If she loses, not only will the curse continue, but she will lose her life.

This is a fantastic second book in the urban fantasy series, Sleuths of Shadow Salon. Last time, we had Luna's partner, Celestine deal with pirate mages. Now, Luna has her hands full with the mysterious red specter not only destroying costumes and changing scripts, but attacking people too. It's wonderful as the story goes on and the layers are pulled back in the most unexpected of ways. It's a more tangled web than any of them ever imagined. Luna is a sweet and smart flying mermaid, and I love her attachment to sea glass, especially creating art from it. The romantic tension between her and the handsome Tim Calhoun, her client, is sizzling. The whole cast of characters is quirky and wonderful. I especially liked old Selka Dupree and the baby goats. 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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