This is now getting to be a common refrain for me. Several weeks ago I walked into Barnes & Noble in the Pruneyard, and, lo and behold, there was another new author (for me) sitting at a table near the door. As has become my practice, I gave her my Booksage card, told her I would read her book, and then blog about it. The only decision I had to make was do I buy book 2, which Hannah Jayne was promoting, or book 1? I decided on book 1. So I got it signed and undertook to read another book in still another genre that I would have never picked up on my own. I keep expecting that I'm going to get a dud from this random method of book selection - but not this time! I enjoyed it a lot. It's called Under Wraps and is the first book in Hannah's The Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles.
The UDA is located 37 floors below the San Francisco police station. Sophie Lawson works for the UDA and shares her workload with a vampire and a witch, among others. Her handsome boss, Pete Sampson, is a werewolf. Every night before she leaves, Sophie chains Pete up so that he can't wreak havoc out in the city. Sophie's clientele includes "minotaurs, gargoyles, Kholog demons, and trolls." She also encounters fairies who you definitely don't want to mess with.
Sophie, herself, is a "norm," with her only paranormal gift being that she is immune to magic. When a very handsome police detective from up above comes knocking down below, they end up working a murder spree together. He, of course, is also a "norm," although there's more that meets the eye with him too.
Hannah has developed a very interesting set of characters, with Sophie as the main protagonist, along with an engaging murder mystery and a ton of humor. In fact, I laughed out loud on a number of occasions. Would I read book 2 and beyond? I'll get to that in a minute.
I've actually run into Hannah twice now. In addition to the first time at B&N, I also saw her last Saturday at "M" for an open house that was honoring the owner, Ed Kaufman. Ed has sold the bookstore, and this was an opportunity for authors and patrons alike to say their good-byes. But besides my run-ins with Hannah, I found out last night that I have another connection with her. Joni and I were out with friends. It turns out that she had also read Under Wraps. One thing led to another, and I found out that Hanna's brother and his wife are very close friends of my son and his wife! How cool is that? I haven't even told Hannah about this yet. I feel like we're almost related. Okay, that was dumb.
Now, getting back to whether or not I will read book 2, let me tell you about a disagreement that I had last night with one of our friends. At the very end of book 1, we learn that there's something about Sophie that we don't know yet. Our friend was a bit outraged. She doesn't like it when a book ends in a teaser for the next book. I explained that most series do that, but she wouldn't give in. Imagine that - someone who disagrees with me. In any case, my response was "Bring it on!" When I saw Hannah last Saturday, I asked her to let me know where she was going to be next so that I could see her, buy book 2, and get it signed. I'm really looking forward to reading the next in The Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles. Hannah actually told me that she would sign one and send it to me. Here's the other offer she made. She said that she would give one of my readers a signed copy for free. So, I will take all of you who make a comment either on this blog or to me personally (firstname.lastname@example.org) and raffle off Hannah's book. You've got until next Saturday to get your name in.
Random House Note: Since a week and a half ago when I saw the Random House reps at Keplers, USA Today has reviewed 2 of the books on their recommended gifts list. One was PD James' Death Comes to Pemberley, and the other was Robert Massie's Catherine the Great. Both of them got 4 stars out of 4.