Jordan L. Hawk is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. For this review, I’m writing specifically about the first collection of her SPECTR novellas. I’ll stay away from spoilers to the best of my ability, but if you’re worried about even the most basic of spoilers, stop reading now and just know that if you like paranormal fiction with heavy threads of romance, if you like human and non-human pairings, and if you don’t mind on-stage sex scenes, you really ought to give this series a shot.
SPECTR Series 1 is comprised of six novellas: Hunter of Demons; Master of Ghouls; Reaper of Souls; Eater of Lives; Destroyer of Worlds; and Summoner of Storms. In this world, so close to ours, but with the supernatural known and named, SPECTR is a federal agency that deals with demonic possession, helping the victims when they can, and dealing with the spirits (non-human entities, or NHEs, as they’re called) even when they can’t. John Starkweather is an exorcist with SPECTR, which is how he and Caleb meet in the first place.
Caleb’s brother is recently deceased, and when he discovers that his brother’s body is up and moving around, he is determined to take care of the problem himself. He is lost in grief, all alone in the world . . . and in waaaay over his head.
Naturally, it does not go as planned. When the NHE jumps ship and winds up in Caleb’s body, everything becomes interesting.
SPECTR Series 1 provides a slight twist to your typical vampire-human romance story lines. Of the paranormal set up, the ones when the whole world knows about vampires and ghouls, about magic and werewolves is my least favorite. I prefer the supernatural to be hidden and secret, and the government involvement with the supernatural has to be handled just right in order for that angle to not turn me off of the story.
Jordan L. Hawk handles it just right, as far as I’m concerned.
Of interest to pagans, perhaps, is Starkweather’s obviously pagan-leanings. He frequently sends fleeting prayers to the Goddess, and names Sekhmet more than once in his thoughts. He references a shrine for Her in his bedroom space. It is by no means the center of the story, and the gods are not on-stage characters in this book, but the presentation of pagan devotion is very real and very true to life, and added a nuance to the stories that I especially enjoyed.
I enjoy her other series, but this is the one that bumped her work to my ‘buy immediately’ list. And it probably doesn’t hurt that this series contains one of the hottest sex scenes I’ve ever read.
(Things to note: SPECTR does contain explicit sex scenes of M/M pairing. Also each book is available in audio, which is something that seems to be happening more and more with indie published books, and I’m super excited about that.)
[Jolene Dawe is a polytheist devoted to Poseidon and Odin. She is the author of Treasures from the Deep, a collection of Poseidon’s myths retold, The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales, and Igraine’s Flight. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her partner, a small horde of cats, one small dog, and three spunky spinning wheels. You can find her online at Strip Me Back to the Bone.]