Charlie Courtland fans will be thrilled to have this new story. Altogether different from her Elizabeth Bathory series in style and tone, there are still precious Charlie moments within it. If you’ve never read her tales, The Secret of a Spicy Jalapeno is a spectacular place to begin to know her. She is wickedly inventive, and this new book is delicious.
So skilled at nuancing her characters, Charlie makes you desperate to figure them out. Some of us already love her most wicked character, the Blood Countess, but Joe Parker is a close second for being many things at once, some of them impossibly opposite. Charlie also understands the need to balance horror with humor, and she can dance the thinnest of lines between the two. She knows how to be overtly macabre and still keep you reading.
I’ve read the first draft, and this final release. I thought the first draft flawless, but she is passionate about what she’s put on the page. Charlie’s skill is so evident; her edits are seamless, and spare. It is a rare treat, to witness an author’s craft as closely as I’ve been able to do here. This earned five stars from me long ago; now you get to experience Joe Parker and Vera Cruz for yourself and see why I like them so much.
(reviewed the day of purchase)