Fantasy author team Geoff Habiger and Coy Kissee are back at it with Joy of the Widow’s Tears, the second book of their Constable Inspector Lunaria Adventure series. I greatly enjoyed the first book, Wrath of the Fury Blade, so I was eager and optimistic going into the sequel.
We return to the city of Tenyl where detective team Reva Lunaria and Ansee Carya continue to tackle their caseloads. They have a “strange bedfellow” dynamic, as established by the first adventure. Reva is brash and defiant while Ansee is stubborn and stoic. Habiger and Kissee play them against each other to great effect, often mining the union for tension and comedy. Some of the best parts of the series involve their respectful yet klutzy exchanges. In fact, the story opens with a hilarious scene about a cookie, which immediately refreshes the reader on their character personas.
Joy of the Widow’s Tears revolves around a mysterious magic necklace, which ultimately drives the plot. It harbors a noxious corruption that goads the wearer into doing unspeakable things. But alas, discussing those things would venture into spoiler territory, so I shall leave them to your imagination. Let’s just say that the resulting drama gave me some serious Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom vibes (with Reva being Indie in this case).
The story kicks off when Reva’s boyfriend arrives at port after a long absence. She is looking forward to some rekindled romance, but the rendezvous is cut short by the reveal of a double murder. What begins as a simple who-done-it quickly escalates into a necro-cult invasion with pain-pleasure zombies. (Yes, you read that right.) Reva’s abrupt approach gets her suspended and she is forced to work the case with Ansee from afar. Although, the setback morphs into a boon as she moves to infiltrate the cult.
The tale unfolds as a classic lone wolf investigation, where one partner works in the gray while the other tries to stay above board. The suspense is well-balanced, the pressure is palpable, and the action is very satisfying. In other words, it’s a great fantasy detective novel that keeps you guessing up to the very end. Joy of the Widow’s Tears is a strong sequel to an excellent first book. It was a pleasure to read and I can easily recommend it.
In closing, I have to give a shout out to Ember, Ansee’s pet fire salamander. Some of the funniest moments involve this little bugger, who reminded me a lot of Pascal (the infinitely lovable chameleon from Tangled). I think the authors should turn her into a plush toy.
Learn more at HabigerKissee.com
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