Reviewed by: Margaret
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books in the series.
In previous books in the SPI Files series, Agent Makenna “Mac” Fraser and her partner Ian Byrne have repeatedly encountered a mysterious villain from Ian’s past. He poses as a ghoul, but they know he’s really something much more powerful. In The Ghoul Vendetta, they’ll finally discover just who and what he is and the reason for his grudge against Ian. But first, they have to find a missing vampire, heir to the powerful Bathory family, who was kidnapped off his yacht by sea monsters while Mac and her goblin lord boyfriend watched, and find out why a gang of ghouls are robbing banks.
I love the variety of creatures and mythologies that Shearin incorporates in this series. I feel like it would be spoilery to say which ones come into play in The Ghoul Vendetta—it’s a myth I’ve seen referenced before but never in as much detail. I really enjoyed getting more of the story. She also brings in some characters from the Raine Benares world, Shearin’s other series. I love that the two very different worlds can be connected by a portal, as well as the subtle reminder that I still need to pick up Treasure and Treason.
I wish that all or part of this book were told from Ian’s point of view. It’s not called the Makenna Fraser series, so I don’t see why it couldn’t be, although Mac does have a very distinct voice. She rambles and digresses, which I think is part of what makes the series feel light and funny. But I feel like this is really Ian’s story. It’s frustrating to watch Mac try to get information from him and it feels odd to have Mac learning about Ian’s past without him. And I realize that dual points of view would suggest a romance, which Mac repeatedly points out that she and Ian are not having. At this point in the series, they’re even both seeing other people.
Mac’s relationship with Rake still feels off to me. He’s saying things like, “I can’t imagine my life without you,” while she seems surprised that she actually wants to kiss him. I wasn’t sold on that ship at the end of the last book and I’m still not. It may just be that after book one I really wanted Mac and Ian to be Cat and Bones, leading this top-secret team together. I suppose there’s still time for them to be Booth and Bones, who got together somewhere around season five.
I really enjoy the SPI Files series and I feel like it’s one that not enough people know about. Shearin’s lighthearted take on the paranormal police procedural is a breath of fresh air in a genre that can get very dark. Since The Ghoul Vendetta brings in so many threads from earlier books, I’d definitely start reading at the beginning with The Grendel Affair.
Sexual content: kissing