Published 2007 338 pages
Summary (from book jacket)
“I was born a monster. Although truthfully, I was only half monster. My mother was human; my father was something… else. Half monster or whole, in the end it didn’t matter. I had my weaknesses same as everyone else. And I was facing one of them now.”
After saving the world from his fiendish father’s side of the family, Cal Leandros and his stalwart half-brother Niko have settled down with a new apartment and a new gig - bodyguard and detective work. And in New York City, where preternatural beings stalk the streets just like normal folk, business is good.
Their latest case has them going undercover for the Kin, the werewolf Mafia. A low-level Kin boss thinks a rival is setting him up for a fall, and wants proof. The place to start is the back room of Moonshine-a gambling club for non-humans. Cal thinks it's a simple in-and-out job. But Cal is very, very wrong.
Cal and Niko are being set up themselves - and the people behind it have bites much worse than their barks...
Moonshine is the second urban fantasy novel by Rob Thurman following the adventures of Cal Leandros, her half-human, half-Auphe protagonist. The events in Moonshine take place a year after those in Nightlife, the first novel in this series. Readers new to this series could probably start reading here and not be too confused about what’s going on in the story but it would be a shame to miss out on Nightlife - since it was a great introduction to Cal’s dark alternative New York world and a fantastically good read too.
Moonshine sees Cal and his brother Niko, finally staring to get a chance at a more stable life, now that they don’t have to keep running from the Auphe (evil elf creatures who bear no resemblance to Orlando Bloom.) The Auphe were hell-bent on kidnapping Cal and seeing him destroy the world for them, a fate which both Cal and his brother have fought hard to avoid. A normal life for Cal and Niko is relative though since they have started their own bodyguard and detection agency, taking on supernatural clients. Their first job involves blood, guts and child-eating stinky monsters which (happily for fantasy fans) tells readers just how far from normal Cal and Niko’s existence has travelled.
Moonshine is narrated in first person by self-depreciating Cal - whose sarcastic inner voice raises some wry smiles as he pulls the reader along on a non-stop thrill ride when he goes undercover at a werewolf bar and then navigates the resulting mayhem. Along the way Cal’s Auphe inheritance starts to catch up with him - which just adds to the excitement.
Moonshine’s fantasy mythology is as wide and varied as in Rob Thurman’s previous novel, Nightlife. Flesh eating revenants, tentacled vodyanoi, succubae and a two-headed werewolf are just some of the many monsters that populate the pages of this novel. All have been given their own unique characteristics and Thurman’s original world building shouldn’t fail to delight even the most demanding urban fantasy fan.
Cal and Niko have gone into business partnership with Promise, who is not only an ex-client of Niko’s from his days as a bodyguard but is also a vampire. As a result, Moonshine develops Promise’s character and reveals more vampire myth. Again, the vampires of Rob Thurman’s imagination are completely unique – the main differences being that these vampires are born, not made and can exist on a diet of iron supplements, instead of human blood, if they so choose. Although as Promise gets her hands dirty in the fight scenes it’s clear that vampires are a force to be reckoned with.
Fast pacing, well-developed characters and original monster mythology, combined with action, mystery and a touch of romance. Really, what’s not to like here?
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