Superstar Stella Mae Ragel dies in a mysterious way and PsyLed is called in to investigate. Naturally, Nell Ingram’s talents of reading the land are an important part of solving the case. As with all of Hunter’s books, the plot is a complex mix of traditional sleuthing and the unique paranormal magic that is the hallmark of her books. I could pick up a manuscript blind out of a pile with completely new characters and know it was written by Faith Hunter within one chapter. Her voice is distinct and that’s why her fans love her. She sounds like no one else in the genre, and while others may try to sound like her, they can’t compete.
Nell is one of my personal favorite Hunter characters and this book carries Nell’s story further in her development. We see Nell continually learn how to use her powers better but she never becomes a superhero with limitless ability. She still has boundaries and makes mistakes; she still has doubts and things to learn. Her relationship with Occam does take a lovely turn.
Ayatas FireWind is a special delight in this book. FireWind is a bridge between Nell’s story and Jane Yellowrock’s and I enjoy seeing him from both Nell’s perspective and Jane’s since they see him differently. He is more vulnerable in this story and there is a particular scene in which Nell observes him with a horse that I absolutely loved. We see through Nell’s eyes as FireWind calms a throughbred and later witness Nell’s thoughtfulness as she must communicate something about that horse to FireWind and recalls that moment in her mind. It is a beautifully crafted piece of storytelling and character development that is a signature of Hunter’s deft hand.
Here is an excerpt for your reading enjoyment:
That explained the stench on the air and the boxy shape in the biohazard cadaver pouch. A cooler. With a rotting body in it. But awful as it was, accelerated decomp was not a good reason for three PsyLED agents to be here. The stench in the hallway suddenly got worse as the air-conditioning came on. Eye-wateringly horrid.
“Why did the locals decide to call PsyLED for a paranormal workup instead of just a biohazard biological workup? And while you’re talking, some indication why I’m here?” Because I had lots of skill sets that could be done by the agents already on-site, and few that were mine alone: in the office it was paperwork, research, and summations, and in the field it was getting along with vamps and reading the earth. Vamps usually liked me or thought I was amusing, mostly because I wasn’t afraid of them when I likely should be. Reading the earth was an arcane ability, part of my nature magic, and was the usual reason I got out of my cubicle.
“A backup singer and musician, one Catriona Doyle, member of the Doyle witch family from Ireland, was here before the local LEOs got here and started a seeing working. She’s an earth witch, and says there’s some funky magic going on in the house. She speculated that a strange kind of death working was taking place. That’s why PsyLED was called. T. Laine was on the way to Bowling Green for a reading and FireWind hijacked her here instead. She’s still downstairs and she says it’s magical, but not like any magic she’s ever seen before. Something different and real bad. Hence our backup.”
T. Laine Kent was Unit Eighteen’s resident witch, and doing readings had become one of her specialties: reading DBs—dead bodies—reading crime scenes, and reading other magic users. Using a seeing working, along with a psy-meter 2.0—the highly sensitive, upgraded model—and her field experience gained at some really awful crime scenes, she could detect and identify blood magic, dark magic, and Blood Tarot spells better than the rest of us put together.
Occam pulled his phone and read his notes, his face losing its humor, his voice all cop-emotionless. “Along with local hazmat, Kent initiated CBRNEP workup.” It was pronounced ky-ber-nep, but CBRNEP was the crime scene protocol for chemical, biological, radiological/nuclear, explosive, and paranormal materials, a protocol developed by the Center for Domestic Preparedness. “So far, we’re clean on chemical, radiological/nuclear, and explosive causation. Still holding out on biological, para, or combo.”
Facebook (official): https://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter
Yellowrock Securities website: http://www.yellowrocksecurities.com
About Spells for the Dead:
Nell Ingram faces a dark craft known as death magic in the newest pulse-pounding paranormal procedural in the New York Times bestselling Soulwood series.
Nell Ingram is a rookie PsyLed agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she’s taken on the darkest magic and the direst foes. But she’ll need to tap into every ounce of power she has for her newest case.
Nell is called to the Tennessee mansion of a country music star and finds a disturbing scene—dead bodies rapidly decaying before everyone’s eyes. The witch on her team, T. Laine, knows this can only be one thing: death magic, a rare type of craft used to steal life forces. PsyLed needs to find this lethal killer fast. But when a paranormal-hating FBI agent tries to derail the investigation, they find themselves under attack from all sides.
About Faith Hunter:
Faith Hunter is the award-winning New York Times and USAToday bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock, Soulwood, Rogue Mage, and Junkyard Cats series. In addition, she has edited several anthologies and co-authored the Rogue Mage RPG. She is the coauthor and author of 16 thrillers under pen names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter. Altogether she has 40+ books and dozens of short stories in print and is juggling multiple projects.
She sold her first book in 1989 and hasn’t stopped writing since.
Faith collects orchids and animal skulls, loves thunderstorms, and writes. She likes to cook soup, bake bread, garden, and kayak Class II & III whitewater rivers. She edits the occasional anthology and drinks a lot of tea. Some days she’s a lady. Some days she ain’t.
Enter to win some fabulous prizes! Giveaway is open to US residents only.
- $25 Amazon or B&N e-giftcard
- 3” wide armband
- 1.5” narrow armband
Check out all the tour stops at LTP (link: http://www.ltpromos.com/)