Rating: 5 stars out of 5
When a ferocious book attacks Carrington at his own birthday party, he believes it’s an isolated incident. But similar books soon pop up all over town, menacing innocent people with harsh bits of poetry and blank verse that deliver damaging physical blows. It’s a frustrating case with too many variables and not enough answers, and the stakes go up with each attack.
With the help of his misfit squad mates at the 77th and the public library’s Rare Books Department, the missing pieces decrease but not Carrington’s vexations. His commanding officer rakes him over the coals at the beginning of every shift. His police partner has lost patience with what she sees as his delusional relationship choices and his inability to pick the right man in a vast field of two. City Hall demands that the books be stopped immediately. It’s enough to put a nutritionally challenged vampire off his skim blood.
The book rattled violently on the table in an imitation of a step dance and printed words leaped out of the pages at frightening speed. Just before they slammed into Carrington’s head, the flying words shrieked at him.
“You starveling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s tongue, you bull’s pizzle!”
He had time for a split second of horror before the words rammed into him with the force of several fists.
from Skim Blood and Savage Verse (Offbeat Crimes #3) by Angel Martinez
Yes, feral books are rampaging about the city slinging deadly poetry at people’s heads! Angel Martinez, you might as well drop the mike and leave the building! This is why I love to read, to come across passages and indeed an entire story full of such paragraphs and plot threads so imaginative and lively that I burst into giggles still at the very thought of them. And that’s just one element here.
Yes its poor Carrington, that vampire who needs to exist on skim blood with the worst taste in men who is the focus here (well one of them at any rate). His feral book attack launches an investigation and soon his squad realizes there have been attacks all over the city. The librarian in the Rare Books Department at the Public Library is just the sort to set him, well not straight, but on the path to HEA, if Carrington can get past his own proclivities for picking up the most shallow, mean-spirited men around. That’s a terrific storyline going on while in pursuit of the rampaging feral books (I can never get enough of those). The author gets us into Carr’s head and heart here. While we are often frustrated with him, its also easy to understand why Carr is why he is.
But there’s another romance here. One I rate just as highly. LJ, also known as Leather Jacket. Yes, an animated object of clothing who’s a member of the squad (loosely) gets a lover. I won’t go into the details because they are too wonderful and should be explored within the story itself. This romance turned out to be so adorable, so charming and mysterious (and on-going probably into the next story) that I was just as equally invested in them as well as in Carrington and Erasmus, the librarian. I will, however, mention that for those who like a quick romance, that doesn’t happen. Carr has plenty of issues and those have to be dealt with first. But we get a closer look at Carr’s family, his partner Amanda (who I also adore) and other respective members of 77th Precinct.
There’s a dangling bit of mystery left here at the end, a rather large bit that I hope leads into the next story. The 77th Precinct and all its members are downright addictive! You never know what wildly scary case will come their way with love tromping along too. Or maybe being propelled by fairies or blasted by fire. Probably not. All too mundane. Which is why I cannot wait for the next book in the series to arrive. Pill bugs from space and now deadly poetry spitting flying feral books! What will Angel Martinez come up with next? I’ve got the popcorn and am patiently waiting to find out.
Cover art by Posh Gosh is very pretty and includes that flying book.
ebook, 137 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Pride Publishing
Series Offbeat Crimes