August 31, 2012

Review: Precinct 13

Precinct 13
Tate Hallaway

Published: August 2012

Berkley, Trade Paperback Edition, 308 p.
ISBN: 978-0-425-24779-2

Recent college grad Alex Connor is thrilled to have landed a job as the Hughes County coroner/medical examiner in Pierre, South Dakota.  But since her first day on the job ends with a nissing corpse, Alex starts to wonder if she would have been better off collecting unemployment...
When the cops made some cryptic remarks about being careful with the body they brought in, Alex thought the boys in blue were messing with her.  That is, until something freaky happens that no amount of med school could have prepared her for.  By the time Alex gets herself together, the body has disappeared and the other residents of the morgue start talking her ear off.
After working up the courage to report the missing body, Alex is transferred to the mysterious Precinct 13, where she discovers that her new coworkers - including a cute technomage (and cop) named Jack - are paranormals just like her.  Now, Alex is being encouraged to use her ability to speak to the dead to solve crimes.  And despite being in the middle of nowhere, Hughes County sure does have a lot of paranormal activity...
Having read some of Tate Hallaway's other books I was looking forward to Precinct 13, and I wasn't disappointed. 
Alex Connor is having a bad decade.  And it only seems to get worse after the cops drop off a body to her morgue with some cryptic warnings. Miffed at what she supposes is a hazing in bad taste, Alex is totally unprepared for the guy on her slab to get up and leave during the middle of his own autopsy.  Confusion and hilarity ensue, as Alex and the cops of Precinct 13 race to solve the case of the missing body.
Best bits
Alex is a bit of an oddball, but I like that about her.  She's strong and fiesty, but has a vulnerable side that we get a glimpse of every now and then.  I like that her checkered history bites her on the butt when she finds out that not only is magic real, but she may have powers of her own.  The arrival of Valentine (and the reason for him showing up) were great.  He reminds me of Smoky in the Yasmine Galenorn books.
So, with witches come the familiars, and I have to admit that once TH mentioned familiars (Sarah Jane rocks!) and the like, it didn't take long for me to guess who Alex's familiar was - and I was right!  I won't mention the details as I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't picked up Precinct 13 yet, but trust me, it will make sense.
Now there is a little bit of language, but nothing too bad (and a lot of it implied rather than stated), and while Alex does get romantic with her boyfriend, it's in no way as graphic as and LKH book ;-D which is all a plus for me these days.
So-so points
Okay, I've just waffled on as to why it was a good book, and now I have to play devil's advocate.  So, there were a few things that I wasn't so enamoured of, but it could just be nit-picking on my part. 
All the main characters were well written and had a place in the plot, but the introduction of Brooklyn could have been done to maximise her role in the story.  She just seems to arrive on stage, diva-esque attitude and all, and it just seems over the top.  Her role is important, but I just wish we'd seen more of her.  You could tell she was a bad seed from the get-go, where as I would have liked her to have been more mysterious.  Then there is Boyd.  Another problem of mine.  He's in the background all throughout the book, and then BAM! he's in the action up to his eyeballs.  Again, I would have liked to have had more of a sense of his personality through the book. 
Alex's parents, her father and stepmonster, are frequently mentioned, but I suspect this is more to set up future storylines.  Which in itself is annoying because I want to know more about Alex's life with them.  Also her mother isn't mentioned much, if at all really.  Does Alex get her abilities from that side of the family?  Again, perhaps a future storyline.
So ... should I buy it?
Yes, you should!  Alex Connor has the potential to become a great series. 

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