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Friday, August 23, 2013

Death Takes A Holiday: A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation Mystery by Jennifer Harlow

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Cynthia Chow

Check out details on how to enter to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

As the newest member for the Federal Response to Extra-Sensory And Kindred Supernaturals Squad, hacking up a giant snake-like basilisk with her trusty blade, Bette, is the easy part of the job for Beatrice "Trixie" Alexander. Gifted–and cursed–with psychokinesis, that allows her to movie things with her mind and “clairempathy,” that has her sensing other people's emotions.

Trixie was recruited by the federal agency to monitor and enforce the laws of the supernatural community. However, their tragic last assignment has left the team completely divided, with Trixie on one side and their werewolf leader, Will, on the other. Long resentments and a romantic rivalry over Trixie had Will refusing to help their teammate, vampire Oliver Montrose, and as a result she cannot forgive Will, while he is enraged by her disobedience. With the team almost literally at each other's throats, Trixie decided that it was the perfect time for a Christmas vacation/escape back home to San Diego.

It's never simple for a paranormal, though, as Trixie's Nana and her friends all believe the lie that Trixie now works in Kansas as a Director of Childcare Services, and not as a federal agent responsible for helping to save the world. Confronting the policeman ex-boyfriend she broke up with and who still has feelings for her certainly doesn't help matters, and even though she thought she was escaping the supernatural, a Vampire Lord is claiming rights over her and making an offer she definitely cannot refuse. Not and survive.

Image source: Midnight Ink

What is so enjoyable about this novel is that for the first half the author explores Trixie's difficulty at adjusting to her return home and meeting her brother, who still blames her for their mother's death. Anyone who has left home and then returned will definitely relate to Trixie's experiences of feeling lost and unable to relate to those who remained. Relationships are at the heart of this novel and sympathies will fluctuate, as both Oliver and Will are extremely sympathetic and wounded characters who deserve Trixie's love. This is no Twilight-like romance for adults, though, as one never sides with any party for long as each has justifications for their anger, sadness and love–although, off the record, Team Oliver.

Halfway through the novel, the paranormal mythology and protocol kick in and Trixie finds herself balancing a carefully worded tightrope for agreements that inevitably have her wielding her impressive powers without having to rely her paramours for a rescue. Trixie has matured impressively since her first appearance in Mind Over Monsters, and her complex feelings for her two suitors never feels overworked or forced. She has a refreshing and practical sensibilities and a wry sense of humor that makes her an enjoyable heroine.

While the action is elevated at the end of the novel, the pace never slows as the author keeps the reader invested in Trixie's personal growth and struggle to feel accepted. This third F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation is highly entertaining with a very likable heroine and intriguing plot with a final surprising twist sure to please fans of paranormal mysteries.

To enter to win a copy of Death Takes A Holiday, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Fatal”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 31, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. Sounds like a very interesting read! Just added it to my TBR list! ;)

  2. I agree, this sounds like an interesting read. Please include my in the drawing.

  3. We have a winner thanks!
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher