Read my reviews of the previous books in the SPECTR series:

Because it had been a long time since I visited this world, I happily re-read the first three books in SPECTR series 3 before diving into this novella. I may have forgotten some details, but I didn’t forget how much I love this intriguing urban fantasy world, in which the general public knows about paranormal abilities, “demon” is just the colloquial slang for a non-human entity (though the possession and death are still as horrible as the term demon implies), and SPECTR is the government agency that deals with both. This latest installment continues the established pattern of the characters searching for clues regarding John’s mysterious past while also staying on the local SPECTR office’s good side by dealing with the “monster of the week” in New Orleans. Night, the other drakul found by John, Caleb, and Gray still hangs around for some reason. He mostly switches between vaguely creepy and violently helpful, when not being unintentionally hilarious attempting to mimic humanity.

I didn’t even take any notes on the monster hunt issue this time because it has nothing to do with the primary plot, except for forcing Caleb/Gray and Night to work together since they can’t accompany John on a trip to discover more about his past. That bit of this series’ continuing plot arc gets creepier as more about John’s past is revealed. Someone doesn’t want those secrets to get out, and the plot darkens as each clue they discover ends up with someone dying. The major discoveries at the end of this book are more tragic than I could have imagined—and also more surprising.

At this point, multiple series into this world and these characters, the relationship between John and Caleb/Gray is pretty solid. Hawk doesn’t let their connection get stale, however, as the emotional arc of this particular story revolves around the rift John’s metaphorical demons are creating between the partners, both physically and mentally. I still believe they are all in it for the long haul, but any relationship takes work, and these three just happen to have a lot of extra complications and baggage.

I continue to be incredibly impressed by how Hawk seamlessly switches between Caleb and Gray in John’s POV scenes. I never have trouble determining which character is in control, thanks to his phenomenal use of subtle physical and vocal cues in the text. This story reminded me of how much I enjoy this world, and I’m looking forward to diving into the just-released next novella in this series.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

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