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06 May 2014

Review: Cursed by S.J. Harper

Author: S.J. Harper
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Roc
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N, Book Depository
Source: Purchased

Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.

Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them.

Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal, and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.

Cursed is the first novel in a new series but authors Samantha Sommbersby and Jeanne Stein. I stumbled upon this book last summer when I made an impromptu trip to Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach and found myself just in time for a Q&A and signing by the authors. After reading the book's synopsis, I decided that it was intriguing enough to warrant staying for the presentation and the subsequent signing.

I was immediately drawn to Emma, a Siren who has been punished by Demeter to spend all her days on earth without love until she can prove that she has atoned for her sins. She works as a detective in the missing persons division, giving a voice to those without one. I really liked Emma. She's tough, smart and determined without being a cliche. I empathized with her and felt the unfairness of her situation. 

Zack Armstrong is the resident werewolf in the story and he's got all of the good alpha male traits - confidence, intelligence, passion, and he's easy on the eyes. He and Emma had good chemistry and I liked that they had a bit of a past. Like Emma, Zack is also trying to atone for his past by finding out what's happening to these missing persons. 

The mystery was interesting and kept me guessing throughout. There is some hinting at a possible love triangle in the future, which I am not sure how I feel about. As a rule I am not a big fan of love triangles but this one hasn't even come to fruition yet so I'll reserve my judgement for a later date. 

Overall I think this is a solid start to a new urban fantasy series. It has a few steamy bits to keep it interesting and I enjoyed the police procedural format. While it's not groundbreaking, it's certainly enjoyable and has the potential to get even better as the series goes on. This is my first book but either author but it won't be my last. I am looking forward to catching up with Zack and Emma in book 2 of the series, Reckoning, which comes out later this fall. 

Visit the author online at sjharper.me, and follow Jeanne on Twitter @JeanneCStein and Sam on Twitter @samsommersby.

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