I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dirty Deeds 2 by R.J. Blain, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Faith Hunter, Devon Monk, Jennifer Estep
Series: Magical Romantic Comedies #15.5, Everyday Disasters #1.5, Jane Yellowrock #13.2, Souls of the Road #2.5,
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Published by Pen & Page Publishing on June 7, 2022
Source: my own shelves
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Also in this series: Dirty Deeds, Blood Trade, "Easy Pickings", True Dead
Also by this author: Dirty Deeds, Blood Trade, Kicking It: These Boots are Made for Stalking, Blood in Her Veins, Mercy Blade, Shadow Rites, Bloodring, Seraphs, Dark Queen, Shattered Bonds, Black Arts, Broken Soul, Dark Heir, Cold Reign, Blood of the Earth, Curse on the Land, Flame in the Dark, "Water Witch", "Explosion On King's Street", Skinwalker, "Shiloh and the Brick", "Black Friday Shopping with Nell and Occam", Circle of the Moon, Blood Cross, Spells for the Dead, "Easy Pickings", True Dead, Hell Bent, Magic to the Bone, Magic at the Gate, Magic on the Line, Magic Without Mercy, Magic for a Price, House Immortal, Killer Frost, Black Widow, The Spider's Trap, Dark Heart of Magic, Bitter Bite, Unraveled, "Nice Guys Bite", Bright Blaze of Magic, Snared, Kill the Queen, "Winter's Web", Last Strand, Sharpest Sting, "Unwanted"
An anthology of six stories in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genre in which the gloves are off and simply surviving might just be the dirtiest, most difficult deed of all.
“101 Ways to Die” (Magical Romantic Comedies, 15.5)
“Putting the Chic in Psychic” (Everyday Disasters, 1.5)
“Liz and Eli Sitting” (Jane Yellowrock, 13.2)
“Oak and Ink” (Souls of the Road, )
“Heart Stings” (Elemental Assassin, 19.5)
R.M. Blain’s “101 Ways to Die”
This was weird. If you want a total nonsense story, this is it. I did appreciate the theme counteracting racism with an encouragement (and promotion) of a mixed race woman.
Once you get far enough in and figure out what is going on and who is what, it is fun and made me wish that police departments were all as giving, lol.
Diana Pharaoh Francis “Putting the Chic in Psychic”
I’m ambivalent about the main character, Beck Wyatt, as she’s so passive-aggressive in her thoughts. To be fair, Beck did have a HORRIBLE childhood. As for the police reaction to complaints from women without power, yeah. That figures.
Francis uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Beck’s perspective, so we know everything that she experiences and thinks.
I did like how supportive the friends are of each other and other women.
Francis needs to have another look at the difference between “Suit vs Suite vs Sweet“.
Faith Hunter’s “Liz and Eli Sitting”
It’s another camping trip for Liz and Eli with Chewy coming along. I laughed at Hunter’s description of the drama queen; it was so picturesque and portrayed her brilliantly. There was a weird bit in here with Brute expressing his attraction to Liz. Cia has a new gig that utilizes her magic.
Hunter is using third person quadruple protagonist point-of-view from Liz’s, Eli’s, Chewy’s, and Brute’s perspectives. Liz is mostly angsting over her relationship with Eli and how much she (unreasonably) hates Jane. Eli alternates between admiring Liz’s skills and concern about his vampire blood intake.
Liz Everhart is a stone witch who runs a magical investigative business with her twin. Cia, a moon witch, is Liz’s twin who is engaged to country music star Ray Conyers. Molly Everhart Trueblood is another sister who’s married to Big Evan Trueblood, an air sorcerer with a Gift for music. Regan and Amelia are more sisters without any magic. Seven Sassy Sisters is the Everhart restaurant. Evangelina had been her oldest sister seduced by the dark side in Raven Cursed, 4.
Eli “Hoss” Younger, a.k.a. Captain America, a former Ranger, is a partner in Yellowrock Securities along with his younger brother, Alex “the Kid”, who is a computer genius. Both brothers have been adopted by Jane Yellowrock, the Dark Queen of the Mithrans, whose headquarters is the Inn. “Chewy“, another former Ranger and teammate of Eli’s, likes the challenge. Gee DiMercy is the New Orleans Mercy Blade, who can stop a person from becoming a werewolf, if called in time.
Brute is a man who’s been forced into his white werewolf shape by the angel Hayyel. Sarge is a werewolf in Blood in Her Veins: “Beneath a Bloody Moon”, 6.5. Rick LaFleur heads up the local PsyLED office (Raven Cursed).
Charles Drake, Mr. Moneybags, and Felicity Hogg Drake, are distraught at the slaughter of Felicity’s chickens. Sugar BooBoo is Felicity’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This Dwayyo, a half-form wolf-bear-human hybrid and nearly indestructible, has air and death magic.
Faith Hunter’s “Magic School for Geezers”
It’s an interesting perspective on magic with old folks suddenly coming into their powers and needing help in handling it. If only greed hadn’t reared its ugly head. I gotta confess, that this didn’t have Hunter’s usual professionalism in the writing although I did appreciate that most of the good guys were nicely set financially and that they’re all old and still rockin’ it.
Hunter uses third person quadruple protagonist point-of-view from Dani‘s, Sandra‘s, Mable‘s, and Marvin‘s perspectives. Yeah, Hunter needs to take a look at the difference between “Suit vs Suite vs Sweet” as well.
Devon Monk’s “Oak and Ink”
There is quite a bit of back history in this harking back to previous Souls of the Road stories. It is a great way to provide background for “Oak and Ink”. There’s quite a bit of angst as Ricky goes over and over about Card‘s past betrayal. It does have an interesting cast of supernatural characters, and Monk crams quite a bit in and uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Ricky’s perspective.
Jennifer Estep’s “Heart Stings”
It’s only fair that Mallory and Stuart get an incident-free wedding reception, especially after events in Last Strand, 19, but it’s rather tacky of them to do it now. Especially with what Mallory reveals at the end. There’s plenty of back story in here about Lorelei and Hugh Tucker, but Estep has way too many info dumps in this.
Hugh Tucker’s character is an enigma. He puts his cold intelligence to work for crime bosses and yet he does do good deeds now and again. Ya just never know which way he’ll swing.
Estep uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Lorelei’s perspective — I know, shocking, lol. I do wanna know why Lorelei doesn’t move the danged filing cabinet when she keeps banging her knees on it.
Lorelei Pike with a weak Ice Gift used to smuggle but now sources items for demanding clients. Lily Rose Pike had been Lorelei’s abused mother who kept trying to get away. Renaldo Pike had been her very abusive father. Raymond Pike had been her equally bad brother. Dario Valdez is one of her watchmen at the warehouse; his wife, Karlotta, is Lorelei’s personal assistant. Jack Corbin had been her right-hand man.
Mallory Parker, a dwarf, is Lorelei’s many-greats-grandmother who recently married Stuart Mosley, another dwarf and president of First Trust Bank.
Gin Blanco, a.k.a. the Spider, is the Elemental Assassin, current Queen of the Underworld, and the owner of the popular Pork Pit restaurant. Sophie Deveraux, a dwarf with an Air Gift, is the head cook. Silvio Sanchez, a gay vampire, is Gin’s essential personal assistant; Liam Carter, with his blend of dwarven and giant blood, is Silvio’s significant other and provides protection services. Fletcher Lane, a.k.a. the Tin Man, had been Gin’s foster father and an assassin who had taught Gin the trade. Owen Grayson is Gin’s significant other. Finn Lane is Gin’s foster brother. Detective Bria Coolidge is Gin’s sister. Xavier, a giant, is Bria’s partner on the police force. The murdered Eira Snow had been Gin and Bria’s mother. She’d also been loved by Tucker.
Jo-Jo Deveraux, Sophie’s sister and also with an Air Gift, runs a beauty salon. Roslyn Phillips is the vampire owner of the Northern Aggression nightclub and a friend of Gin’s. Underwood’s is a fancy and expensive restaurant. The Rhododendron Inn is a luxury resort built by Marisol Patton in the early 1900s. Vaughn Constructions will redo Lorelei’s office — and be the triggering incident.
Clyde O’Neal had been partners with Dimitri Barkov (Spider’s Trap, 13); now O’Neal is plaguing Lorlei. Hugh Tucker, a vampire, works for all the worst criminal bosses. Emery Slater, a female giant, had crashed the first reception. Mason Mitchell, Gin’s uncle with a powerful Stone magic, had been a vicious longtime leader of the Circle, a secret crime society. Alanna Eaton had been a cannibalistic vampire (Venom in the Veins, 17). Dierdre Shaw had been Finn’s bad mother (Bitter Bite, 14). Walter Butler is a hit man.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a neon glow of an angled royal blue billboard with the title in a pale yellow and to the right of (I’m guessing) Rhi or Lorel with her long and flowing blonde hair wearing a leather jacket bathed in fuchsia and purples, holding a fuchsia knife in her left hand. Starting at her right wrist is the number 2 in a pale turquoise with the shadow of a wolf crossing its lower half. At McMarin’s hip is an info blurb in pale yellow and the authors listed below it in a darker yellow.
The title refers to Dirty Deeds 2 being the second anthology.