Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Will a dark history doom their future together?
New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.
Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.
Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.
But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.
Get ready for eight-and-a-half hours of entertainment from the talented mind of the highly creative paranormal author, Jordan L. Hawk, and the smooth, delicious, and melodic voice of Tristan James. There would’ve had to have been a very big goof-up in this audiobook for me not to enjoy it with that talented combo involved. And there wasn’t, so I did. A lot!
This is book one in a new series, Hexworld, though there is a prequel, The 13th Hex, that can be read prior. It’s not necessary, but IMHO, it adds to the story since the characters from the prequel are featured as principal secondary characters in this one.
Tom Halloran has been living a lie for eight years, hiding from his past identity as Liam O’Connell of the notorious O’Connell Gang, who started the Cherry Street fires. Tom saw his father and brother go on a killing rampage, wiping out his whole family, and when Tom used his hexbreaking skills to remove the hex from his brother, the man immediately died. Tom now carries the guilt of killing his brother, and the grisly memory of his father tearing his mother’s face half off, along with the guilt of not being able to stop any of it. He hides his hexbreaking abilities and is working as a regular cop in New York City, having assumed the identity of a man he found dead in an alley who was fresh off the ship from Ireland and on his way to take a job as a patrolman.
Though he wants nothing to do with the Metropolitan Witch Police, the other law enforcement agency in the city, his mission to find out who killed one of the shopkeepers on his patrol takes him there, and that’s when the adventure begins. Because he meets Cicero, a cat familiar, unbonded, untamed, and the most beautiful man Tom has ever seen—though with the temperament of an aloof cat who got away with the cream.
This story sets the stage for this new world, the world of hexbreakers, witches, and familiars who work for the MWP, trying their best to maintain law and order in the turn of the (19th to 20th) century. There’s angst, heartache, and regret; but there’s also hope, bravery, love, and redemption. The adventure is complex and interesting, and the world-building was outstanding.
As Tom and Cicero, aided by Dominic and Rook, attempt to solve the mystery surrounding the murders that appear to be caused by the same hex that killed Tom’s family, they are joined by a host of secondary characters, some of whom turn out to work for “the bad guys” and some of whom I hope will return in future installments of this series. Tristan James’s talent for speaking with authentic-sounding British and Irish accents enhances this already amazing story.
The book is totally different from the Whyborne and Griffin series, and yet equally as intriguing and satisfying. Don’t miss a chance to get into this series now. It’s going to be a wonderful adventure.
The cover art, by the author, depicts two men holding hands and embracing—one behind the other—in the top pane; and a background map of NYC with the shape of a black cat superimposed over the map in the lower pane. The cover is attractive and perfectly conveys both the characters and setting of the story.
Published August 3rd 2016 by Widdershins Press LLC (first published May 6th 2016)