Grim Shadows (Roaring Twenties #2)
Published: June 3, 2014 (Berkley Sensation)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by Jo
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it may make reference to previous books in the series. If you haven’t started yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Bitter Spirits.
Jenn Bennett has done it again with a stellar second helping in her Roaring Twenties series. Set a few months after Bitter Spirits, this time we’re getting intimately acquainted with Lowe Magnusson; the treasure hunting, roguish and all together less responsible younger brother of Winter.
Currently on his way back for a dig in Egypt, Lowe is in possession of an extremely rare and extremely valuable artifact. In desperate need of cash after his last ‘transaction’ has backfired with dramatic effect, Lowe begins negotiations with Hadley Bacall, antiquities expert and daughter of Museum curator Dr Bacall. In order to receive his payout, Lowe, with the help of Hadley, must go on a treasure hunt around the city to uncover the missing parts of the amulet. It soon becomes evident though that, not only are they not the only ones looking, but that Hadley is hiding a very powerful secret. As they delve deeper into history, not all of it ancient, Lowe begins to discover that magic is very real… And so is the danger that comes with it.
With moments reminiscent of Indiana Jones and The Mummy, Grim Shadows seamlessly blends ancient Egyptian mythology with prohibition era San Francisco, to produce another stand out historical paranormal romance in this series. One of my favorite aspects was how well the plot, mythology and character histories were interwoven, making for some fantastic twists and lots of layers to this story. The puzzle aspect was a perfect match for both Hadley and Lowe, and I really enjoyed putting the pieces together alongside them, especially concerning other characters and their motives.
Hadley’s backstory in particular was fascinating. She comes across a frosty and uptight to begin with but she’s an incredibly capable character, trying to prove herself in a male dominated field. Once you begin to understand the dangerous and difficult-to-control nature of her powers, and some of the events in her past, her disposition begins to make sense. And then along comes Lowe and throws her ordered world into total chaos.
I loved how these two leads balanced each other so well. He’s impulsive and playful, she’s serious and laser-focused but they are excellently matched when it comes to intelligence. It makes for some sizzling tension between the two, especially with how much Lowe enjoyed ruffling her feathers. As Grim Shadows progressed though, it became more apparent that these opposites might just be exactly what the other needs (even if they can’t see it right away!). Lowe’s more carefree nature helps Hadley to overcome the traumas in her past, whereas her focused ambition makes Lowe begin to take responsibility for his past mistakes. And Bennett can certainly write some steamy romance!
If I had to sum up Grim Shadows in one word it would be multilayered. I loved how every time I thought I had the plot, the romance or a particular character figured out something new would unfold and the game would change. This is a great new series and I’m hoping that the next installment features Astrid and Bo, though I would love to see another book with Lowe and Hadley in the future.
Sexual content: Graphic sex, references to rape