Thursday, February 14, 2013

Urban Shaman - C. E. Murphy

I did mention that I'd sneak in a trad-published novel every once in a while, didn't I?  Well, in honor of Valentine's Day, I give you a trad-pubbed urban fantasy.
I have a few favorite urban fantasy authors: Patricia Briggs (whose Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter who fixes cars for a living and who loves the alpha of the local werewolf pack), Carrie Vaughn (whose Kitty books had me at "radio talk show host" and Denver, never mind the paranormal stuff), and C.E. Murphy.

Urban Shaman is the first book in the Walker Papers series.  The main character is Joanne Walker, who works as a mechanic for the Seattle Police Department (what is the deal with female mechanics in urban fantasy, anyway? No wonder I gave Naomi a white-collar job!).  Then, jet-lagged after her mother's funeral, she's dropped into a situation in which she believes she's witnessed a crime.  Somehow she talks a cabbie into driving her all over Seattle to track down the bad guy, only to plunge down a rabbit hole of weirdness.  Because, you see, Joanne Walker's birth name is Siobhan Walkingstick -- Irish fey mother, Cherokee shaman heritage on her father's side -- and she is, naturally, the most powerful shaman in North America, no matter how much she refuses to admit it.  But when the Celtic Wild Hunt shows up, she has no choice -- particularly when she manages to heal herself of a gut wound that should have been fatal.

It's not just her magical power that she's in denial over.  It's clear to everybody (here comes the romance!) that she has the hots for her boss, Capt. Michael Morrison.  But you know, the whole boss/employee thing, and, well.  We have lots of books to go.  Maybe they'll both figure it out eventually....

Every hero needs a sidekick, and Jo's is Gary, the cab driver who picks her up at the airport at the beginning of the book.  Gary is rock-solid and yet willing to go along on all of Jo's adventures; he says it's the most fun he's had since his wife died.  And he's right -- Jo's a lot of fun.  Her self-deprecating snark comes through loud and clear.

If you like urban fantasy, but you haven't read any of the Walker Papers books, give this one a try.  Happy Valentine's Day.