THere's 'hard-to-kill' and then there's Bellamy Vale.
Vale – whose friends may call him Bell – is a private investigator with a caustic personality and the amazing ability to rub one of the local homicide police lieutenants the wrong way. He’s also got the best of lucks, with a track record for dodging bullets, guns jamming when pointing at him and flowerbeds breaking otherwise deadly falls. This luck comes at a price though: he’s one of the few humans who’s aware that gods and monsters are very real, most of them exiled from the mortal realm. One of these supernatural beings holds his life to ransom: a woman he’s dubbed Lady McDeath. She uses Vale to do her dirty work in the mortal realm.
When a supposed wolf starts a killing spree in Cold City, Lady McDeath sends Vale on the trail. He soon finds that the attacks are not the results of a hungry animal. And they are not random either. Shady intrigues – on both side of the supernatural border – lead Vale to uncover something far worse than murder in the making. And the race to keep his life becomes a sprint to save much more.
The action plot may not be entirely original, but the spin author Cristelle Comby puts on it makes it feel fresh. Pace starts fast and doesn’t really let up at any point. The fantasy elements are introduced early enough and in a way that completely makes sense within her setting and she has managed to avoid the dreaded ‘information dump’ that can sometimes bog down fantasy tales. The darkish tone is consistent throughout. Vale is an all-too human character who’s far from invulnerable – even with the rather dubious gifts his association with Lady McDeath offers. He gets hurt and has emotional baggage that he needs to deal with throughout the tale. His friends and acquaintances all have personalities of their own.
This tale won’t let you stop turning the pages. The fantasy elements shouldn’t discourage readers looking for an action-packed tale. Greatly recommended for fans of both action/thrillers and fantasy.
Published by Indie on May 14th 2018
He’s done a deal with Death herself. But unless he can send beasts back to the Otherworld, losing his life will be the least of his worries… PI Bellamy Vale’s near-immortality doesn’t give him a moment to rest. Completely worn down as Death’s supernatural detective, he’s starting to think he got the short-end of his do-or-die deal. So when a string of savage attacks grip the city, Vale abandons all hope of sleep and sets out to discover who let the Otherworld beast free… Reading dead crime victims’ minds for clues, Vale attracts the very unwanted attention of a fresh-faced journalist and his jealous police officer ex. Reluctantly agreeing to let the women tag along for the danger, the investigation reveals his worst fears. It turns out letting the brutal monster loose may only be the first wave of destruction. Can PI Vale catch the puppet-master before the whole world is dragged to hell? Hostile Takeover is the first book in the fast-paced Vale Investigation urban fantasy series. If you like classic noir-style action, out-of-control mythology, and a healthy dose of sarcastic charm, then you’ll love Cristelle Comby’s edge-of-your-seat adventure. Independent Press Awards Winner (Urban Fantasy Category in 2019)