Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
I’m convinced Karina Cooper named her heroine in Lure of the Wicked as a bit of an homage to Mae West. Naomi West is a woman who knows how to hold her own with the boys and flaunts it. She’s a talented missionary –think of her as a Black Ops marine, except her goals involve killing witches — and she’s been given a unique mission. Naomi’s not used to being a spy. She’s more the sniper type. Killing she can handle. Pretending to be an heiress at a swank spa while seeking out her mark (who just happens to be another missionary) is not her forte.
This also means she’s not the normal woman Phinneas Clark runs into. He has a strict policy not to date the women who attend his spa, but Naomi baffles him, entices him. His ties to magic and witches are sure to cause issues, but not in the way either would predict.
Unlike the first Dark Mission novel, Blood of the Wicked, the hero and heroine of Lure of the Wicked don’t know they’re on opposing sides. They fall for each other knowing it’s forbidden fruit for more conventional reasons, work reasons. It’s only once they start to develop feelings that the added layer of magic versus missionary further complicate things.
Each time I read a Karina Cooper novel, I’m struck by the beautiful, precise and visceral writing. The visuals are striking, the emotions intense and the characters unerringly real. Basically, it’s impossible not to get sucked into the Dark Mission novels.
Lure of the Wicked blends murder mystery and spy-like action with cat-and-mouse romance and a hero to lust over. (Really, Phin is delicious.) And, yes, you should read it. Like, now.
Sexual content: Multiple sex scenes