Friday, 11 March 2016

Book Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z Martin

Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

My Review:
Cassidy has a psychic gift which allows her to get the story of any magical object that she touches. Along with business partner and vampire Sorren and store manager Teag, they cleanse or destroy haunted and dangerous objects. Homeless men in town are being murdered and magical objects that were cleansed and sold from the shop are misbehaving. Creepy shadows and a creepy man seem to be following Cassidy and Teag and they need to stop the evil in the town.

Lets start with the characters. I liked Cassidy and her psychic gift. It was interesting to see her interact with an object and see its history. Teag was also a good character and I liked the addition of his partner Anthony, who has a fear of what Teag does for a living, which is very understandable. I really liked Mrs Teller and hoped we would see a bit more of her. I loved Cassidy's ghost dog Bo who acts as a protector for her through the plot plus her real dog Baxter. Bo was my favourite though! Brave, loyal and protective-oh I wish he was still alive, he's so adorable! The other characters introduced are all interesting and have their own different forms of magical talents and quirks. I think a lot of work has gone into thinking up all of these people and having their gifts compliment each other in fighting evil.

I do have an issue with Sorren though. If you are going to bill him on the blurb as being one of the main three characters, why do we see nothing of him until page 107??? When he does appear it is for short periods and we don't really get a chance to connect with him. Yes we get a few bits about his past but I need to connect to my MCs before I can really drawn into the story and having this interesting vampire with hardly any page time is disappointing. There is no doubt that he is vastly underused and underdeveloped, which is a shame.

I wouldn't really call this urban fantasy, despite the modern day magical setting. It is more like a cozy mystery. It is very slow to get started and it was only the characters that stopped me from putting the book down. The opening 87 pages just has Cassidy checking out all of the objects and getting their history. Yes that's all very interesting but I just wanted to get to the real story and what was killing the homeless men. The first half in the book was background to all of their abilities and getting followed. I feel it could have been shorter to keep the story moving.

The second half of the book had more action and moved at a better pace. However, the problem was the amount of repetiton in the storyline. They go to explore the building, get attacked and barely escape, and the next day do the same thing with a different building. This happens quite a few times and I was getting a bit frustrated that the story wasn't moving forward. Go to the Historical Society, snoop, get attacked, escape. Go to the Museum, get attacked, escape. Don't these characters learn that wherever they go to snoop, the bad guys will come after them so they need to take the whole team fully armed??? Gah!

Despite the issues I mentioned, this was still a decent story. I feel it just needed to be pruned and condensed and that would have made it a really good UF story. It was well enough written with interesting ideas and good characters. There were plenty of things to like about it. However I doubt I will read on in the series as it was just too slow for my tastes. If you like cozy paranormal mysteries or slow burning urban fantasy, then you might just like this one.

 star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png


  1. Looks like you are making great progress on your urban fantasy reads. Glad you felt this one has a decent story line because I know I own it on my Kindle somewhere.

    1. Oh these are all the old reviews for books I've read a year or more ago! I'm trying to catch up on them before I get to all the books I've read this year!