Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer
Publisher’s Description: Harmony Black is much more than your average FBI special agent. In addition to being a practicing witch, she’s also an operative for Vigilant Lock, an off-the-books program created to battle occult threats—by any means necessary. Despite her dedication to fighting the monsters threatening society, Harmony has become deeply conflicted about her job. Her last investigation resulted in a pile of dead bodies, and she suspects the wrong people are being punished for it.
While on a much-needed vacation, Harmony gets pulled back into action. This time, though, she’s gone from solo work to being part of a team. Their target: the Bogeyman, a vicious and elusive figure…and the creature that destroyed Harmony’s childhood.
Surrounded by quirky, fascinating characters as dedicated to one another as they are to their new partner, Harmony must learn to trust her team—and a new romantic interest—on a dangerous and deadly mission that conjures up memories she’d much rather forget.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Nervous Nellie says…
I like to think of our case files as a carefully constructed media narrative, where specific facts and incidents may be reedited or reframed in order to convey a deeper understanding and context. Sort of like reality television.
I’m loving a new set of characters. I know, I know. What else is new? Well, let me tell you that this spin-off series from Craig Schaefer’s Daniel Faust series is a “one-sit” wonder. Don’t be thinking you are going to be putting it down… ok… maybe a bathroom break, but other than that you will be pulled in fighting demons and hellspawn.
Harmony Black is Daniel Faust’s nemesis. If you haven’t read Daniel Faust series, you really need to give him a try too. Harmony works for the FBI as a witch and agent. Intrigued yet? She takes the bad supernatural elements and brings them to justice… all by herself. It’s a lonely life until she gets thrown in with a team that does what she does except they work together as a unit. Their ‘code’ name is Circus. It’s a fitting term.
Then we meet Jessie Temple. The quotes that come out of that woman’s mouth are hilarious from my point of view. She rivals Yancy Lazarus, Charley Davidson, Alix Hiboux (Owl), Sara Wilde, Bill the Vampire, Quincy Harker, and others. It’s her coping mechanism with the scary horrible things she runs into. She also does not trust the government branch for which she works. You know, shadowy alphabet agency and whatnot. What’s not to trust?
Team Circus is thrown into a series of child kidnappings that quickly turns into a serial. Harmony has a vested interest as it’s her hometown, her sister’s and father’s killer. Harmony is a skilled witch, but this case exceeds her experience. If she were on her own, she would fail, but she finds out that working with a team maximizes their odds of success.
There are dangerous characters galore. There is chaos, mystery, serious maiming of bad guys with a little death thrown in and demons. JUST how I like it! What’s not to love?
Invested Ivana says…
“Okay. Now, how many of the sorcerers you’ve met are dangerous, deviant, murderous assholes? Most of them, right? So picture every Tom, Dick, and Harry Potter studying hard, trying to become a real live wizard. If just one-tenth of them succeed, and one-tenth of them let the power go to their heads–and it will be a lot more than one-tenth, you know this–we’ll be mopping up corpses around the clock.”
When this month’s Kindle Firsts email came out, I skipped right over this book, not realizing it was Schaefer’s. The cover is… unfortunate, especially since the Daniel Faust covers are so brilliant. Nothing about the cover communicates that this book is a supernatural mystery with elements of horror. So to 47North/Amazon, I say, “Step it up, folks! I know you can do better.” 😉
However, despite the cover, the book is getting attention. As I write this review, the book has been available through Kindle First for just nine days, and it already has 300 ratings on Goodreads averaging 4.07.
Straight-laced witch/FBI agent Harmony Black joins a black-ops division that hunts bad supernatural elements and protects the unsuspecting public. While not a unique premise in urban fantasy, there are so many ways to do it that I rarely get tired of the variations. Harmony has to face a monster from her past (one many of us feared as kids, too!), relax her straight-laced standards to accomplish a greater goal, and adjust to a team of unknown elements when she prefers to work alone. This book has horror, humor, and humanity (in the philosophical sense of the word) and makes for a good start to a new series.
Sadly, I have not yet read the Faust books; Nell found those and read them without me. I hate it when she does that! ;P But Harmony references Faust in a way that makes me want to check them out, so now they are part of my electronic and audio library. 😉
Our reviews in this series…
- Fantasy Book Critic – interview with the author
- It’s Either Sadness or Euphoria
- Land of Books – interview with the author
If you like this book…
- Yancy Lazarus series by James A. Hunter
- SPI Files by Lisa Shearin
- Boundary Magic series by Melissa Olson