This is the second book in Hall’s Kate Kane: Paranormal Investigator series. The Kate series first appeared a few years ago, but has been republished by Carina Press.
Readers should start with the first book—Iron & Velvet—which introduces Kate and her world, but I’ll offer a brief spoiler-free TLDR for readers who want to read this review. Kate lives in contemporary London, all the fictional supernatural entities are real, and just like ordinary people, they require the services of a private investigator.
Shadows picks up three months after Iron, and concerns the fallout from the end of Iron, as well as a new threat. What starts as a search for an almost-hookup’s missing brother escalates into something bigger, and once again Kate is forced to deal with vampires, werewolves, faeries, and more— when all she really wants to do is relax at home and spend time with Julian, her girlfriend.
I should mention that Julian used to be a nun… and that she’s an 800-year-old vampire…
The narrative unfolds via Kate’s first-person perspective. Kate is in her mid-30s, and like most women of that age, she is not here for your bullshit. Kate has many weapons in her arsenal, but tact is not one of them. Why mince words when you can save time by just being direct?
So, when Kate’s acerbic wit combines with Hall’s bananas take on a modern London full of supernatural beings, the result is a simply magical madcap adventure. Between the banter and the (intentionally) melodramatic personalities that Kate encounters, I spent most of the book laughing. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll say that the D&D session was one of my favorite scenes. Oh, and I’ll never be able to listen to Clair de Lune without thinking of that interminably long car ride in the Volvo.
I should mention that even though Kate has a girlfriend who she spends time with over the course of the novel—that’s a euphemism, for the record—this book is not a romance. Kate and Julian might have some great chemistry, but unfortunately, their relationship is only a small facet of the plot. Nonetheless, the queer representation was both noted and appreciated.
I would absolutely recommend Shadows & Dreams. I don’t read a lot of contemporary fantasy, but I find the Kate Kane books to be delightful. I’m looking forward to finding out what Hall is going to do with Kate in Fire & Water, the third book in the series.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.