Iron & Velvet
Title : Iron & Velvet
Series : Kate Kane, PI, Book 1
Author : Alexis Hall
Publisher : Riptide Publishing (BUY HERE)
Genre : F/F, Urban Fantasy
Length : 277 pages (e-book)
Published : December 16, 2013
Rating : ★★★★★
First rule in this line of business: don’t sleep with the client.
My name’s Kate Kane, and when an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince came to me with a case, I should have told her no. But I’ve always been a sucker for a femme fatale.
It always goes the same way. You move too fast, you get in too deep, and before you know it, someone winds up dead. Last time it was my partner. This time it could be me. Yesterday a werewolf was murdered outside the Velvet, the night-time playground of one of the most powerful vampires in England. Now half the monsters in London are at each other’s throats, and the other half are trying to get in my pants. The Witch Queen will protect her own, the wolves are out for vengeance, and the vampires are out for, y’know, blood.
I’ve got a killer on the loose, a war on the horizon, and a scotch on the rocks. It’s going to be an interesting day.
Kate Kane is a paranormal investigator in London. She doesn’t really want to work for any vampires, but money is money and you need it to pay rent and eat. Even if your plans are to wallow in guilt and drink yourself to death you need money for booze and wallowing space. When the Prince of Cups, Julian Saint-Germain, demands Kate come visit her, Kate is reluctant but sees the writing on the wall. Kate agrees to investigate the murder of a werewolf that took place on Julian’s property but charges an exorbitant fee and finds herself flirting with Julian. Kate’s done the vampire thing before. She doesn’t really want to do so again. She’s also done clients before with disastrous results. Kate just wants to investigate the crime and get paid. Of course, it’s complex and involves considerable amounts of political intrigue involving numerous paranormal groups. Lucky Kate! Unfortunately, it’s likely something was summoned which means mages were involved. Kate has to question them and that involves talking with her ex-girlfriend, the Witch Queen Nimue. And Kate’s ex-boyfriend (it was a phase) Patrick is investigating the crime as well for vampire authorities. While investigating Kate and Julian just keep getting cozier and cozier. Kate learns werewolves are quite tough and have creepy ancestral lands. Their lands are made creepier by Kate’s faery heritage. Oh yeah, the werewolf Alpha is also a gorgeous lingerie model who flirts with Kate.
Not a lot gets resolved until Kate and Julian finally resolve their lust. In an intimate moment a summoned creature attacks Kate and Julian. They kill it and go back to bed where Julian lulls Kate to sleep with the tale of the Oysterer’s Daughter. Julian also let’s slip one of her exes is a mage. Kate has to tread carefully so as to prevent a war, but she has to tell Julian all the clues lead to the mages. It doesn’t go well. It also doesn’t explain the next murder. Kate expands her search and talks to local informants. After more pillow talk and the discovery of an important clue Kate is able to put together the clues that may lead to a creepy faery creature living in the sewer. Kate goes to search the sewer with her new roommate and employee, a beautiful woman who happens to be an animated statue. Kate thinks she kills the guy in the sewer til he shows up and kidnaps Julian. Kate then has to assemble a team for a rescue operation. They’re rag tag at best but Kate Kane wants her girlfriend back.
This was, far and away, the most hilarious book containing the letter thorn I’ve ever read. And no, it’s not the only book containing the letter thorn I’ve ever read. I was regularly laughing out loud but didn’t feel the humor was forced. The epitaphs were not only funny in the creative description of death, but the repetition of the ending, “Beloved daughter. Sorely missed.” was an integral part of their charm. However, I didn’t find the book to be only humorous. I got a serious case of the heebie jeebies while in a well lit and populated area when Kate was speaking with the Multitude. Kate’s conversation with Nimue after Nimue did her lady of the lake bit was a little burst of heartbreak amongst action. This book was evocative and thoughtful and so much more than the funniest pillow talk stories I’ve ever read. I also award extra geek points for the use of “bamf.”
There were some significant strings left loose at the end of this book, which is indeed the first in a series. Kate kind of killed someone important whose death will leave a power vacuum, Anacletus might be dead or he might not be, and Kate has bound herself to Nimue which pissed off Kate’s mother and has left Kate unable to access any of her faery powers. Being bound to her ex-girlfriend the Witch Queen could prove inconvenient if there is ever a power struggle between the mages and vampires. I can also see Patrick continuing to annoy Kate in his attempts to keep her safe.
I’m not sure how I felt about the speed with which Kate and Julian became a couple. For me, it was pretty fast but they aren’t living together yet, so I can’t complain too much. And, since this is an m/m blog I should probably mention this is an f/f book in case you couldn’t tell from all the shes and hers in the review. Some people like advance notice. Personally, I loved the story and am eager to read the next installment. It wasn’t about the parts of the people having sex, it was about the story which was brilliantly written.
Rated 5 stars by Faye