Title: Some Kind of Magic
Author: R. Cooper
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Buy Link: Buy Link Some Kind of Magic
Genre: Fantasy/ Paranormal
Length: Novel (192 pdf pages)
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: A nice, character-driven story, with some deliciously quirky ideas, but also with an unfortunate forward-backward plot and at times rather convoluted writing.
The Blurb: Being a police detective is hard. Add the complication of being a werewolf subject to human prejudice, and you might say Ray Branigan has his work cut out for him. He’s hot on the trail of a killer when he realizes he needs help.
Enter Cal Parker, the beautiful half-fairy Ray’s secretly been in love with for years—secretly, because while werewolves mate for life, fairies… don’t. Ray needs Cal’s expertise, but it isn’t easy to concentrate with his mate walking around half-naked trying to publicly seduce him. By the time Ray identifies the killer—and sorts out a few prejudices of his own—it may be too late for Cal.
The Review: Ray Braigan and his partner Penelope DelMar are the only non-human detectives in the Los Cerros PD. Thus, they are assigned any cases which involve non-humans (“Beings”, as they are called here) either as victims or as suspects, as well as any cases that are associated with magic of any kind. As the story opens, Ray and Penn are at a hospital waiting to interview the victim of a break-and-enter with aggravated assault, fairy Nasreen. It quickly becomes clear that werewolf Ray has several preconceived notions about fairies, namely about their flightiness.
The reason for Ray’s reserve becomes clear as he and Penn watch the interaction between Nasreen and the owner of the broken-into sweets shop, Audrey. Nasreen is obviously smitten with Audrey, but although the feeling seems to be mutual, it’s likewise obvious that Audrey fights it – an observation which reminds Ray of his own situation. As a werewolf, he has a fated mate, who in his case is Cal Parker, a half fairy. Ever since he realized this, two years ago, Ray has fought the overwhelming instinct to claim his mate, from fear of having his heart broken, because he’s convinced a fairy can never understand the concept of mating for life, much less remain faithful to only one partner.
This doesn’t do Ray any good, though; a werewolf who knows his mate but doesn’t claim them apparently can’t find any peace of mind, which results in Ray being constantly tired, but unable to sleep, which in turn makes him constantly grouchy.
A number of facts make the situation for Ray even harder than it is: for one, Cal is a consultant to the Los Cerros PD, which is why their paths cross often. As a werewolf, Ray can smell that Cal is equally attracted to him; and if that wasn’t enough, Cal drops come-ons and suggestive hints every time they meet. On top of this, everybody seems to know about Ray’s dilemma, namely Penn, who loses no opportunity to push Ray toward Cal.
The situation becomes more and more unbearable for Ray when a series of violent murders forces him to work closely together with Cal. The murders seem to be all connected with Ray in some ways, with the amount of violence inflicted they even seem to point toward a werewolf as the possible murderer. When they find out there is a lone werewolf nearby, they go to interview him. Although this doesn’t get them any further with their case, there is a different kind of revelation in for Ray, because the other were challenges him over his mate.
Cal, who witnessed the scene, confronts Ray afterwards, and Ray, still high on testosterone from putting the strange werewolf in his place, can’t resist his instincts any longer, which results in a long night of passionate sex for the two. In the morning, though, Cal runs out of Ray’s house without even putting his pants on.
Ray is devastated since he sees his worst nightmares fulfilled. Once Cal has gotten what he wanted, he leaves, and Ray will be unhappy forever, with his mate alive and nearby, but no longer interested in him. But is he really? Or does Ray need to learn to overcome his misgivings and open his eyes and his mind for a different view at life – and at fairies?
This book was full of quirky ideas and fun moments. The actual mystery is halfway original, given that the book’s focus apparently isn’t really with the mystery but with the character development instead.
The character of Cal was likeable, sassy, lascivious and a little pushy, just what Ray needed. They did make sense together. I also liked the fact that in this case, the werewolf and his mate don’t jump into bed within two minutes after the first handshake. Ray’s prejudices gave him some depth and room for character growth. If you know werewolves, Ray’s problems were even comprehensible, even though he became a bit repeptitive about them.
I really liked some of the minor characters, like Penn, and Nasreen – and the bespectacled, slightly dorky demon named Steve was priceless.
However, the story flow didn’t work for me. We learn near the beginning that Ray realized two years ago that Cal is his mate, during one fateful night when Cal came to Ray’s house, wanting to confront him about an incident which happened earlier at the police station. This fateful night comes up several times, parts of it are even told in flashbacks. Which would have been perfectly sufficient to explain both Cal’s behavior and Ray’s dilemma. But near the end, the entire night is taken up again in one long flashback passage that goes on and on, hashing and rehashing everything that has been mentioned already. It felt redundant, since the major misunderstanding between Cal and Ray had been resolved by then, and the sexual tension between the two needed neither any further explanation nor more buildup, since it had crested already.
If you don’t mind a bit of repetitiveness, I’d recommend this book anyway as a nice and entertaining read with some original ideas and a refreshingly different take at the werewolf / mate trope.