Book Review: Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter

Posted February 12, 2021 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter

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.

Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by Ace Books on February 26, 2019
Pages: 399
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: 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, Dirty Deeds, "Shiloh and the Brick", "Black Friday Shopping with Nell and Occam", Blood Cross, Spells for the Dead, "Easy Pickings", True Dead, Dirty Deeds 2

Fourth in the Soulwood paranormal fantasy spinoff series and fits in at 12.1 in the Jane Yellowrock series. It revolves around Nell Ingram, a woman who channels power from the earth and is an agent of PsyLED. The story is set in Knoxville. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Soulwood books on my website.

My Take

Oooh, Nell is on her third date with Occam! And we know everything that’s happening — provided it’s what Nell is experiencing, as Hunter is using first person protagonist point-of-view.

It’s damned sad that Nell is so overwhelmed that a man could simply care about her well-being. Doesn’t say much for the Church. It is heartening that Nell’s family is coming out, bit by bit, from under the Church’s edicts. Wait’ll you read about the Nicholson battle plans, lol.

More ooh, seems Mud has some interesting business plans.

While there is some humor in this, there’s plenty of tension and reveals in Circle of the Moon not least of all those about Rick. Whoa. As for the local cops…they have to be forced to cooperate. It’s gun battles as well as fights against curses and invading vampires and showdowns inside the Church. As for the lies, betrayals, and sacrifices…oh my…

I can kind of understand the FBI’s embarrassment that they didn’t know about their regional director, but why take it out on Unit 18 and PsyLED? Isn’t it better to get at the truth?

Occam is still healing from events in Flame in the Dark, 3, and he has several confessions to make to Nell.

Ick. I could believe that Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada’s psychopathy was demon-based. His behavior was certainly demonic.

Then there are those pesky babysitting issues which make Nell wonder if gaining custody of Mud will work.

The Story

A naked Rick LaFleur calls Nell for help. But with a black magic circle and a sacrificed cat near him and no memory, Rick is no help.

There’s a blood-witch out to kill, dying animals, and a helpless Unit 18 that could shatter at any moment.

The Characters

Brought up in a very restrictive church, the widowed Special Agent Nell Ingram, a.k.a. Maggot, is discovering the world outside those restrictions. Well, except for events from Flame in the Dark, 3, that put Nell on the injured list. She reads the land for the unit and does research for them. Jezzie, Cello, and Torquil are her cats. Soulwood is her land, the earth with which Nell has bonded. Mud, a.k.a. Mindy, is Nell’s younger sister who also has the same bond with the living green of the earth. Charade “Cherry” is a springer puppy that Sam doesn’t want. John Ingram is the Church of God man to whom Nell was a second wife. Leah was his senior wife.

Jane Yellowrock is a Cheyenne skinwalker, who is now the Dark Queen of the Mithrans. She still runs Yellowrock Securities with her partners which include Alex Younger, and she used to date Rick. Whom she’s made her beta. Molly Everhart Trueblood, an earth witch, is Jane’s best friend. Brute is a unit werewolf cursed to stay in wolf form. Molly’s Everhart sisters make up most of the Asheville coven.

PsyLED is…
……the Psychometry Law Enforcement Division that reports to Homeland Security is charged with investigating paranormal crimes. Based in Knoxville, PsyLED is Unit 18, covering the Southeast region, the first all-para unit, with the too quickly aging Rick LeFleur, a wereleopard, in charge. A former undercover cop with NOLA, he’s also a mean sax player. Josephine Anna “JoJo” Jon es, a.k.a. the Diamond Drill, is Rick’s second-in-command and a computer hacker extraordinaire. The damaged Occam “CC” is a spotted wereleopard who had been sold by his preacher father to a circus. Now he’s an agent in love with Nell. T. Laine Kent is the unit witch without a coven. Tandy Dyson has an empathic gift ignited by being struck by lightning, which created his Lichtenberg lines. Three times. He’s also the unit therapist. Clementine is the unit’s voice-to-text system.

Tandy’s mother is an unsubtle racist and bigot who kicked Tandy out of the house after his gift manifested.

Soul, an arcenciel, is the assistant director of PsyLED. Ayatas FireWind, a Cherokee skinwalker is Unit 18’s upline man. The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) is an electronic clearinghouse of criminal data. Pea and Bean are grindylows, cute, neon green, kitten-sized were-creature killers.

Knoxville PD
Officer Holt is on-scene and does not like female agents. Detective Steff tried an end run around PsyLED. Gonzales is the team leader for SWAT whose members include Douglas, Montgomery, Josephs, Smith, Flint, Matthews, and Avery. Officer Cobb is assigned to the kidnapping along with Detective Emery Hamm, who is also avoiding PsyLED.

Sergeant Wellborn used to be with KPD.

Special Agent Margot Racer has a truth-sensing ability, and her bosses want her as the liaison between the FBI and PsyLED…spying. Shultz is the acting FBI special-agent-in-charge in Knoxville. Agent Chadworth Sanders Hamilton is Nell’s third cousin from the townie side of the family.

God’s Cloud of Glory Church
Esther is Mud and Nell’s sister who is married to Jedidiah Whisnut. Sam is Nell’s brother who’s married to a very pregnant SaraBell. Daddy Nicholson has had two surgeries. Mama Grace and Mama Carmel are some of Daddy’s wives. Zeke, Harry, and Rudolph are Nell’s half-brothers. Judith and Bernice are half-sisters; Bernice will be marrying Ben Aden. Caleb Campbell is part of the Nicholson group and is married to Fredi and Priscilla, Nell’s oldest sister.

Sister Erasmus does a nice muscadine wine. She’s the junior wife to Brother Aden. Larry is their second son and Colleen is Larry’s first, spoiled, wife. They’re courting Mud, even though Daddy said no. Ben Aden is another son who had wanted to marry Nell. The Jacksons, including Judah and Daniel, are Nell’s enemy, willing to use their hunting rifles. Meshack Lambert and Gad and Esau McCormick are part of the Jackson group.

Old Lady Stevens handles the transactions for those of the Church (and Nell) who sell at their market. The sentient vampire tree is Nell’s fault. It now envisions itself as the Green Knight, protecting Nell. The Colonel, Ernest Jackson, had been the leader of the church and the reason Nell fled.

The Vampires
Leo Pellisier is the former Master of the City (MOC) of New Orleans. Yummy is the vampire who works for Ming Zhane of Glass, the new MOC of the City of Knoxville, who is claiming all of Tennessee. Cai is Ming’s human primo blood servant; Heyda Cohen is her vampire security specialist (Blood in Her Veins: “Off the Grid”, 0.5 (7.9)). Mira Clayton from Blood of the Earth, 1 (9.25), is the daughter of one of Ming’s.

Katie Fonteneau is the MOC of Atlanta these days and a way-back ancestor of Rick’s. Tom is Katie’s primo and Rick’s uncle. Lincoln Shaddock is the MOC of Asheville. Isleen is a vampire from Rick’s past. Loriann Ethier is the witch who worked with Isleen; she’s also with the Crime Lab and Evidence at the NOPD. Jason is Loriann’s damaged brother. Godfrey of Bouillon is a Naturaleza vampire and pedophile from Europe who intends to claim America. Titus had been the emperor of Europe.

Lachish Dutillet is the coven leader in New Orleans. Witches who turn up to help T. Laine include Rivera Cornwall, Theresa Anderson-Kentner, Suzanne Richardson-White, and Barbara Traywick Hasebe.

Brother Thaddeus Rankin owns Rankin Replacements and Repairs and does most of the more involved work on Nell’s land. Deus is his son. Hank is a cashier.

The Human Speakers of Truth is a hate group to whom agents of the CIA leaked info. The Party of African Weres (PAW) and the International Association of Weres (IAW) are both powers in the were world. Raymond Micheika is the president of IAW.

Paka is a black wereleopard and an enemy. Jim Paton is a creepy witness. Raynay is a kidnapped neighbor girl; her mother is Lonie Blalock. Dr Robert Perkins is a psychologist in New Orleans. A Mercy Blade can sometimes halt the progression. B’Kul is a demon. The Blounts had owned a good bit of property.

The Cover and Title

The cover is primarily shades of purple from the deep night dark of the background with Nell in a skimpy lilac dress perched above a still pond and the full moon behind her, waving her wants with trails of orange and pink magic following. The left border is a gradation of lighter purples with black pointed flower-like ovals on top. The author’s name is in a deep lilac at the very top with an info blurb in white immediately below it. The title is below that, also in white with the series information below that and to the left of Nell. At the very bottom is a testimonial in white.

The title refers to a nasty curse, the Circle of the Moon.

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