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The Cold Kiss of Death Cover Picture

The Cold Kiss of Death

Suzanne McLeod

Published 2009        372 pages

Summary (from the book jacket)

All Genny wants is to live the quiet life and to do her job at - but there's her tangled personal life to sort out first. She's being haunted by ghosts who want her help. Her witch neighbours want her evicted. Genny's sort-of-Ex - and now her new boss - can't decide whether he wants their relationship to be business or pleasure. And then there's the queue of vampires all wanting her to paint the town red - how long will it be before they stop taking 'no' for an answer?

But when one of her human friends is murdered by sidhe magic, Genny is determined to find the killer. Her efforts to find the real murderer lead her to some of the most dangerous and seductive fae - but her search is hindered by the vampires, who have their own political agenda. Then when all the evidence points to Genny - she's the only sidhe fae in London - and she's named the main suspect; it's not long before she's on the run - and not just from the police - but from some of London's most powerful supernaturals.

The Review

The Cold Kiss of Death of British author Suzanne McLeod’s second novel in her urban fantasy series. Following on shortly after where the first Spellcrackers book left off, The Cold Kiss of Death wastes little time on a recap of previous events, making it necessary to have read The Sweet Scent of Blood before even thinking of tackling Cold Kiss.

As with The Sweet Scent of Blood, Cold Kiss is a complex tale that follows the adventures of Genny Taylor, a noble fae sidhe who works for the London based Spellcrackers franchise, a business that specialises in sorting out magical problems. Before jumping to the obvious (well, obvious for fantasy fiction!) conclusion - it’s not a preternatural detective agency - it’s more like a magical version of Rentokil, dealing in supernatural pest control and cleaning up magical messes. The Witches Council who controls all magical businesses have taken a dislike to Genny since she got outed as a 3V sufferer.

The 3V infection marks Genny as a vampire venom addict, which makes the witches less inclined to trust her while most of London’s vampires are lining up around the block to try and take a bite out of her. In the opening scenes of the story it is made clear how precarious Genny’s position within London’s supernatural community is - if she loses her job, the witches will withdraw their official protection and for the vampires it will become open season on Genny. 

Still job problems are the least of Genny’s worries, since in the first few chapters of the book she is framed for murder, and spends the rest of the story trying to clear her name against an increasingly large pile of evidence. If proving her innocence wasn’t a big enough task she still has to dodge the advances of power-hungry vampires who want to harness the power of magic in her blood for themselves. Dealing with some strangely persistent ghosts who seem to be following her around London is just an added annoyance.

There is a huge amount going on in The Cold Kiss of Death making it an exciting and satisfyingly complex read. The book’s cover promises magic, mayhem and murder and there is no shortage of any of these things. Throw in an imaginatively realised fantasy London with demons, sorcerers, satyrs, vampires, necromancers and a wide variety of faery beings and it’s clear that this book is a sure-fire winner for fantasy fans.

Although vampires play the largest part in the Spellcrackers series there are echoes of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Meredith Gentry series in The Cold Kiss of Death, since it has a strong emphasis on sidhe myth and politics. However there are big differences between Genny and Meredith. Unlike LKH’s sidhe protagonist, Genny disparages what she calls the “sidhe sex myth” and (thankfully) doesn’t screw her way through the supernatural population of London. Genny makes a realistically likeable yet suitably kick-ass heroine who keeps fighting to the end. A great urban fantasy story is the result with plenty of action and a solid mystery plotline combined with a hint of sexual tension and a touch of romance.

Fans of America’s Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris would do well to add Susanne McLeod to their reading lists. Faeries, vampires, mystery and magic – this book has it all!

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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