Author: Vicki Pettersson
Series: Celestial Blues
Format: Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
Publisher: Pub (June 12, 2012)
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Noir
Review Copy: ARC provided by the Publisher
Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he's an angel, but that doesn't make him a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he's been dumped back onto the mortal mudflat to collect another soul—Katherine "Kit" Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped.
Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let the sable-haired siren come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to solve the mystery of his own unsolved murder—and dole out some overdue payback for the death of his beloved wife, Evie.
Joining forces, Kit and Grif's search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn't Grif's biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, along with the answer to the haunting question of his long afterlife . . .
There is a lot to enjoy in The Taken. The two main characters, Griffin 'Grif" Shaw and Katherine 'Kit' Craig, are wonderful. I love Kit. She's an interesting mix of incurable optimist and pit bull. She tries to live life beautifully, adopting a Rockabilly aesthetic, while at the same time relentlessly pursuing stories as a journalist. She will not stop until she gets the truth. Griffin Shaw, Grif, is the real noir deal. An authentic P.I. from the 50s who was violently killed and has a chance to find out what happened 50 years ago. He is the epitome of tall, dark, and silent with a little grumpy thrown in. He definitely sees things differently than Kit. The dance of their relationship is one of the highlights of The Taken.
What draws Kit and Grif together are 2 murder mysteries set 50 years apart - what happened to Grif and his wife and what is happening now. While working on solving the mysteries we see what makes both Kit and Grif tick. Ms. Pettersson does a terrific job of giving us information about both of them over the course of the novel to show how they became who they are now. Because of the difference in eras in which the murders were committed we get to see into Las Vegas of 50 years ago and Las Vegas now. I like how Rockabilly ties Grif's era with Kit, who embraces the Rockabilly lifestyle in the present day.
Another highlight of The Taken is the angelology. Ms. Pettersson's take on angels, the heavens, and what happens after death is outstanding. This also is nicely doled out over the course of the novel.
My only quibble with The Taken is the slow going in the beginning. The Taken picks up steam, however, and is well worth the read. I must also point out that Ms. Pettersson slings descriptive phrases with the best of them. I can't tell you how many times I noted a phrase from the novel that delighted me.
Bottom Line: Ms. Pettersson combines the celestial, the underbelly of Las Vegas, Rockabilly, noir, and mystery, mixes in some wonderful characters, and delivers a great read. The Celestial Blues series is on my must buy list.
I give The Taken 4 1/2 Qwills.