Sara Wilde is an artifact hunter, one of the best in the world. She is also a Connected, a psychic with a unique ability to read Tarot cards, which lead her to the magical artifacts she is hired to find. This time around, she is on the trail of a fertility charm in Rio de Janeiro — smack in the middle of Carnival. Oh, and did I mention that the artifact belongs to the Cult of Icamiabas, a matriarchal, Amazonian sex and death society? Oh, and that two of her fiercest rivals are also after the artifact and that an annoying telepath keeps making snarky comments in her head?
This is the first story that I have read by Stark, and, I will admit, I snatched it up because it was free. I wasn’t expecting much, so I was very happily surprised at how much I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Sara is an awesome protagonist: tough, loyal, smart, and just a bit self-deprecating, but also fully aware of and confident in her own abilities. She also has a strong moral compass; she might take money to track down artifacts, but she won’t turn them over to people she feels will abuse them, nor can she be bought or scared off once she has taken a job.
The Tarot aspect of the story is quite interesting. Sara uses the traditional Rider-Waite deck, interpreting the cards sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically to lead her to her goal. For instance, the Devil card leads her to the nightclub, O Diabo. On another occasion, she is making her way through a cave when she comes to a seeming dead end; she pulls the Ten of Swords, an image of a man on the ground; she looks down and finds a narrow (really really narrow) hole in the wall.
One Wilde Night is a heck of a lot of fun: narrow escapes, mad chase sequences, a tough heroine, and a sexy potential love interest. Plus magical artifacts, psychics, and dangerous cults. I can’t wait to read the next book.
Recommended to fans of Lisa Shearin, Annie Bellet, Lindsey Buroker, and SM Reine.
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of EHS.]