REVIEW: The Taken (Celestial Blues, Book 1) by Vicki PetterssonTuesday, June 12, 2012 1:00
I love Vicki Pettersson’s Signs of the Zodiac series, so I couldn’t wait to read The Taken. The setting, modern Las Vegas, is the same, but the characters are very different. Griffin Shaw is a low-level angel being punished for a big mistake he made on his last job. Katherine “Kit” Craig is the woman who is going to die because of his mistake.
Grif died in the 1960s, murdered alongside his wife. He wants to use his time on Earth to track down their killers, in addition to saving Kit. Since he was a PI in life, he has some of the skills needed. (Even better, he still has some of his angelic powers.) Grif grew on me, but he has a way to go to become one of my favorite heroes. He’s casually sexist, which makes sense given the time period he came from, but it’s kind of grating. (Even if his casual sexism is much better than the way the villains treat women.) He’s determined to save Kit from the consequences of his actions, but she apparently deserves that consideration because she’s nice and pretty. Grif doesn’t worry too much about the people who get killed because he didn’t let Kit die. I’m not saying he should’ve let her die or that they don’t do good together, just that greater value is placed on her life.
Kit is a reporter struggling to keep her family-owned newspaper afloat. Her best friend and photographer was murdered while investigating a prostitution ring involving several Las Vegas politicians. Kit’s also a rockabilly – a sensual subculture devoted to living as art, expressed by emulating the fifties or sixties. (It also seems to involve tattoos; I don’t know why.) I like Pettersson’s approach to Kit’s lifestyle. She enjoys it and shouldn’t have to apologize to anyone for it – no matter who thinks she’s a weirdo. Kit’s your typical fictional reporter, leaping into dangerous situations in order to get the story. It’s hard to blame her, considering she’s trying to help women and girls in a terrible position. But she might be a little more cautious given that someone murdered her best friend over what they knew.
But, honestly, I love The Taken. It’s a fast-paced book, but it’s not all action. Grif and Kit talk to each other. She might think he’s crazy since he believes he’s an angel, but she still accepts his help. He lets her take over when she’s the better person to get information, although he usually has to be persuaded. (It’s that casual sexism.)
Fans of Pettersson’s Signs of the Zodiac will enjoy the Celestial Blues series as well. The Taken is a good start and I’m intrigued by what Grif and Kit will do next. (I’m especially curious about Grif’s dead wife, Evie, since various characters hint that she wasn’t the sweet person Grif paints her as.)
Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he’s a celestial Centurion, assisting the recently, and violently, dead. Yet just because he’s an angel doesn’t mean he’s a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he’s been dumped back onto to the mortal mudflat to collect another soul—Katherine “Kit” Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped.
Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let this sable-haired siren with hairpin curves come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to find the truth about his own mysterious death — and wreak some vengeance for the murder of his beloved wife, Evie.
Joining forces, Kit and Grif’s search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn’t Griffin’s biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, as well as the answer to the greatest mystery of his long afterlife …
Who killed Griffin Shaw?
Read an excerpt here.