Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review: Blackbird in the Reeds (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #1) by Sam Burns

blackbird in the reedsTitle ~ Blackbird in the Reeds (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #1)

Author ~ Sam Burns 

Published ~ 4th January 2018

Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance, Mystery





Devon Murphy has never believed that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, but when he’s in an accident on his way to his grandmother’s house and comes face to face with the biggest, baddest wolf he’s ever seen, he’s forced to reconsider.
When his grandmother asks him to look into a string of suspicious accidents, he finds a much bigger mystery to unravel. From his childhood best friend to the too-attractive Deputy Wade Hunter, everyone in Rowan Harbor seems to have something to hide. Devon has to get to the bottom of it all before the accidents turn deadly.


Freya’s Review

Devon has spent a long time running away from anywhere he got comfortable. After a request from his grandmother to return to his home town of Rowan Harbor, he complies. On its borders, Devon has an accident which gives him the first glimpse that all isn’t what it seems.

When the injured Devon arrives in town, he finds it to be insular, in that there are those who belong, and the rest are outsiders. If you belong, the benefits are that you rarely pay for anything. The downside is that everyone knows your business before you do. Devon finds there is a paranormal element too. The town is a haven for most varieties of supernatural being found in popular reading. The who is who – you’ll have to read to find out.

Devon’s grandmother called him back to investigate a series of accidents a lady in town is having before they turn into something more serious. Devon isn’t a trained investigator. But, as a local, people open up to him. In the long run, his enquires also take him on a journey of discovery.

I digress here to tackle the technical side of the story. Blackbird In The Reeds is told in the third person with the odd slip into the first (“...yes, thank you, brain, very funny…”). There is also some passive writing where there should be active. E.g. Started to, is a passive phrase. If someone starts to run faster – the fact that they are running faster than they were means they are already running faster, so the sentence should say he ran faster, which is active. The odd autonomous body part rears its head, and some editors out there won’t like the use of the word, just. In the normal course of conversation, we say he just did this, or she just did that. But grammatically, outside of dialogue, there are websites out there dedicated to alternatives of the word, just.

Overall, the story is told in such a way that it’s as if someone is telling the tale to an audience and occasionally playing the characters. It gives the story a raw charming quality. To entice the audience into the world of Rowan Harbor, there is intense scene-setting and an occasional sidetrack into, sometimes, unnecessary detail. But, it gives a sense of intimacy with the character. Devon’s thought process is a significant factor, as he works a lot on instinct, and a healthy use of the grapevine. Hence much sighing, and weighing up situation moments.

Devon’s investigation reveals a world of the paranormal. In the first half of the story, it comes in the form of unusual statements and actions. It’s in the second half of the tale that the story truly takes off, and the little titbits and WTF moments from the first half, come together. Nicely and cleverly done.

There is more to the story than the investigation. There is something bigger at work. But, it would be major spoiler time, if I revealed all.

The cast involves all the principal inhabitants of the town, aaaannnd yes there is some heat in them there pages in the form of another buff man with his own secrets.

So, if you like a story that allows you to get immersed in a community and is more of discovery than, high drama with a few of your favourite paranormal species – this is for you.

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