Title: The Lady Detective (Book Six of Tales of the Djinn)
Author/Publisher: Emma Holly
Price: $11.99 (paperback) / $3.99 (ebook)
Yasmin, a former member of the Sultan’s disbanded harem, is a private investigator. She is, in fact, the only female private investigator in the entire djinn world. In a male-dominated society, she is an oddity, to say the least. Then Safiye, once a member of the harem like herself, comes to Yasmin with a problem: a wealthy djinn lord has proposed marriage to Safiye, and she wants Yasmin to make sure that the lord is all that he appears to be. Simple enough, right? Well, no … which Yasmin realizes when the Sultan’s most powerful sorcerer, Joseph the Magician, appears and starts trying to block her investigation …. Oh, did I mention the zombies?
I have read several of Holly’s erotic novels and novellas in the past, but none of the Tales of the Djinn series. Despite The Lady Detective being the sixth book, I had no trouble following along.
First, I love the world. The djinn are magical beings; their divine/magical spark allows them to cast a wide variety of spells and even transform into a being of smoke. This is a polytheistic society; most djinn worship an unnamed God and Goddess, who are honored as the creators of the djinn; but there are also temples to a wide variety of other named Deities, most notably Demeter. Many of the items which humans have created through technology (trains, tablet computers, et cetera) the djinn have like-wise created, but with magic. The world itself is also, literally, flat and it comes to a very abrupt and dangerous end; beyond the edge of the world lies the In-Betweens, a misty unending realm-between-the-realms with no gravity, no color, no sun. Anyone who falls into the mists is lost forever.
Yasmin herself is a terrific character: she is savvy, well-educated, fierce, and devout. She prays frequently to her Goddess, trusting in the divine to lead the way — but she is also independent enough to make her own way, to fight what society considers acceptable for a woman; in so doing, she finds where she truly belongs (not to mention a niche business that no one else had previously considered).
As most of the story is told from Yasmin’s third person point of view, it takes a bit longer to get a feel for Joseph. The Sultan’s most powerful and trusted sorcerer, Joseph has a secret which he only reluctantly shares with Yasmin and which he is terrified will put the Sultan and the whole djinn world in danger (no, I’m not going to spoil it). Joseph is also different from so many other male djinn in that he respects and admires Yasmin for her intelligence and independence; he trusts her to make the right choices.
The Lady Detective is a fun, fast, and sexy read. Unlike so many erotic novels, there is an actual plot; the story is not overwhelmed by the sex scenes. Definitely recommended to fans of erotic fantasy, as well as fans of Zoe Archer, Kay Danella, Delilah Devlin, Joey W Hill, and Shauna Aura Knight.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan, the editor of EHS.]