And so as "Family Pride", the third novel in the Blood of the Pride/Rebecca Desjardin series, opens, Desjardin is still a Felis, a cat shapeshifter who is still shapeshifting challenged. She's still a private eye in Montreal, she's still sleeping with Brandon Hanover, a human, and there are still dark, dark secrets that lay between them that have yet to be unearthed, and resolved. And one of the most dark ones, one dealing with Rebecca's lover Brandon is about to rear its ugly head.
Rebecca is about to meet Brandon's folks. Surprise!
Michael and Bernadette Hanover, of the multinational Hanover Investments, have decided to visit Brandon and Rebecca. Arriving early, they also meet Jess Hammersmythe, Rebecca's surrogate mother, and leader of the Montreal Pride, a Pride that Rebecca has been ostracized from, and who is now, only after twenty years, is involved in some reparative work towards getting more involved with their cloistered community.
The meeting between Rebecca and the folks is off to a rocky start, the sleazy Michael wants to hire Rebecca for a job, and does so in the typically ham-handed, and insulting, way possible. The typical way of those who are powerful, and who are used to getting their way, and Michael isn't about blackmailing Rebecca to get what he wants.
Unfortunately, the Felis ain't about murdering those that expose them, or who find out unfortunate truths about them, so to keep the peace, and to keep Michael alive, Rebecca reluctantly accepts the assignment.
It seems that one of Michael's partners, David Brayton, has had an indiscretion, and that indiscretion has resulted in an offspring, and Michael and David want the whole affair buried, and the woman bought off.
Affairs, such as they are, soon go from ugly to uglier, as both Michael, and the socially conscious, and elitist, Bernadette start to tighten the screws on Rebecca, both, of course, for different reasons. It will surprise nobody who has ever read a mystery that sooner than later everything will just go totally south as murder rears its ugly head as the baby's mother is murdered, and the baby goes missing.
In the first two novels in this series, Nantus concentrated on the Felis' inter-Pride politics, and their internecine results. With "Family Pride", Nantus reverses everything as she pretty much shuffles the Felis, and much of the urban fantasy elements out of her novel, and concentrates more on the issues dealing with the human side of her life. There are still some token Felis appearances, and Jess shows up for some critical appearances, but for all intents and purposes, the mystery is all about the humans.
Not that this is a bad thing. Like the previous two novels "Family Pride" doesn't scrimp on the detective and suspense part of the novel, and in fact, "Family Pride" is more of a straight detective/suspense novel with some paranormal elements Although, with "Family Pride", Rebecca gets to show her stuff as an investigator, and, as she admits, she's somewhat out of her depth here. Rebecca clearly isn't ready for prime time yet as a criminal gumshoe; she only manages to get part of the job done because during one important part of the investigation, it's up to Jess to show up and doing some heavy lifting. Still, the novel has plenty of twists and turns, although, even somebody as dense as I am, figured out who was behind the novels complications by the novel's eventual denouement. But, I was never bored.
In the fantasy field, there is commercial writing', and literary writin', and this is commercial writin' and storytellin' at its best, as Nantus is good at what she does, and most likely deserves better than having her novels ending up being in one of Harlequin's throwaway paperback lines. And this review is based on Harlequin's Carina Press edition.
Still, to Nantus' credit, the novel doesn't end when the shooting stops. She continues to tell the tale, and to tie up ALL of the loose ends, and it is with this novel we find out if Brandon is willing to cut the strings to the Hanover name and fortune, Rebecca finds out some interesting truths about her parents, and finally gets Jess' respect.
This third novel in Nantus' series is pretty self-sufficient, you really don't have to have read the previous two, it helps, but while there are plenty of references to past events, they really don't have any real effect on the circumstances of this novel.
For this site I have reviewed these other urban fantasy books:
Allie Beckstrom #1: Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, Book 1) by Devon Monk.
Allie Beckstrom #2: Magic in the Blood by Devon Monk.
Allie Beckstrom #3: Magic In The Shadows by Devon Monk.
Allie Beckstrom #4: Magic On The Storm by Devon Monk.
Allie Beckstrom #5: Magic At The Gate by Devon Monk.
Angel Crawford #1: My Life as A White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland.
Angel Crawford #2: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland.
Blood Of The Pride #1: Blood of the Pride by Sheryl Nantus.
Blood Of The Pride #2: Claws Bared (Blood of the Pride) by Sheryl Nantus. Edie Spence #1: Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander.
Edie Spence #2: Moonshifted (Edie Spence) by Cassie Alexander.
Edie Spence #3: Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander.
Genevieve "Evie" Scelan #1: Spiral Hunt (Evie Scelan) by Margaret Ronald.
Genevieve "Evie" Scelan #2: Wild Hunt by Margaret Ronald.
Mercy Hollings #1: Beg for Mercy by Toni Andrews.
Mercy Hollings #2: Angel of Mercy by Toni Andrews.
Mercy Hollings #3: Cry Mercy (A Mercy Hollings Novel).
And these anthologies which contain some urban fantasies:
A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters edited by Kerrie Hughes & Martin Harry Greenberg.
Crime Spells edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Loren L. Coleman. Which contains the first Allie Beckstrom story.