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Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Review: Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon 01) by Ann Aguirre

Synopsis:

Corine Solomon is a lonely woman but it suits her. She has broken up with her super-handsome but selfish boyfriend, Chance, who used and abused her for financial reasons (no, he wasn’t a pimp but close) making her sometimes even risk her life. Now she is living in Mexico as an illegal alien (no matter how silly it might seem but such things happen), earning a modest living in her own little pawn shop. If she thought that, by leaving the USA, she was able to escape her problems forever she couldn’t have been more wrong. Unexpectedly, one day Chance darkens her door again. Why? Oh, business as usual – he wants Corine’s help to find a missing person. The problem is this time it is his own mother.

We find out that Corine possesses a rare, supernatural gift – she is a ‘handler’. It means that touching different objects she is able to ‘see’ what has happened to their owners. Such a gift is frowned upon by the police and other officials but often it is also the last chance of discovering the truth about somebody who has disappeared without any trace. Corine used to be very successful with her gift, earning a lot, but it always came at a hefty price – every time she used it she felt pain and objects made of metal left her hands burning and scarred. Not to mention the fact that she often had to chase after very nasty, very angry criminals and she has never been exactly fit.

Corine decides to help Chance one more time. She liked his Korean mum very much and she is still not insensitive to her ex’s charm (although she would prefer to believe otherwise). Apparently Chance have been missing her, not her money (or so he says) and generally he seems to be really contrite. Finding his mum will be a problem, though – apparently she has had her own shadowy secrets, involving human traffickers, Mexican mafia and some local witches. The clock is ticking – will Chance and Corine succeed once again? Will they kiss and make up while doing so?

Titillating factor:

Plenty of kissing and some nice memories revived. You will be pleased and welll…titillated but not grossed out.

What I liked:

The main heroine, Corine Solomon, is a very likeable girl – she has an unusual gift, wears grunge, hippie clothes, can run a business on a shoestring budget and never gives up, no matter what. She has also some flaws J I love flawed heroines. The book is told from her POV.

The book is set in Mexico and then on the US- Mexican border which I found rather exotic (but plenty of people claimed I am being delusional…ok, just saying). The pace of narration was quick enough to keep me interested

The fact that Corine deals with an ex, not a prospective or current boyfriend, I found rather original
Her ex, Chance was really portrayed in an intriguing way – he is Korean (ok, perhaps half Korean, we aren’t told much about his dad) and he is literally very lucky but his gift is presented from all possible angles – bad and good as well.

Tex-Mex food…yummy! I love it! I was hungry almost all the time! Other necessities of life are presented in a very balanced way – we know the characters, being humans, have to bathe, change clothes, buy petrol and do the washing-up but we are not given any boring shopping lists or other step-by-step descriptions of daily routines. Well-done!

What I didn’t like:

The main baddie, a certain ugly warlock…we are shown too little too late and his motivations are never fully exposed. Pity.

The ‘magick’ in this book; I found it rather to be an unnecessary complication than an additional bonus – as if Mexico with its culture, food, coyotes and narcotrafficantes wasn’t enough.

The plot was a bit predictable – I was able to decipher the identity of said bad warlock somewhere in the middle of the book without any problem and of course it was obvious how the book would end from the very beginning.

I didn’t like the romance a lot in this one, especially the fact that the authoress ALMOST decided to use a love triangle scheme. ALMOST. Fortunately she checked herself just in time to make book palatable to me.

A talking, intelligent chihuahua? One bark means yes, two barks mean no…do me a favour (sigh). Legal Blonde, somebody has stolen your dog!

Final verdict:

If you like stories which can make you shiver even in the middle of a hot summer day this one is for you. It has zombies, witches, magic, a nice heroine, some romance. Just don’t expect a very original or very surprising plot which makes you think. HEA guaranteed, though and don’t forget to prepare some food beforehand – you might get hungry and thirsty!

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