Monday, November 10, 2014

REVIEW: Cross Keys by Ally Shields

Conspiracy, murder, and magic…and the death of all they hold dear.
When the first wanderer—a common elf who isn’t authorized to use the portal—is spotted on the streets of New Orleans, the king assigns Kameo Ryndel to assist in the elf’s capture. But before she can intervene, humans with guns shoot the wanderer and steal his body. When Seth Lormarc, an Elite elf from a rival guild, appears at the scene, Kam suspects he is involved.

Seth Lormarc is in New Orleans to find out who was behind the portal breach, and his best lead is the intriguing Kam Ryndel. When he stakes out her apartment and finds her sneaking out in the middle of the night, dressed in black and leaping to the top of the nearest building, he knows there’s something unique about the beautiful elf. That kind of feat requires magic. Ancient magic.

As their paths cross during their investigations, they develop an irresistible attraction, although there’s little time for romance. The portal breach is tied to an illegal smuggling operation that has come to the attention of the human CIA. But the stakes are raised when Kam and Seth discover a band of conspirators and a rebellion deep in Elvenrude that promises nothing except destruction of their world.

Available at Amazon


RATING: 5 Stars

‘Cross Keys’ works equally well for fans of romantic suspense, crime drama, and paranormal fiction, which have all been blended together in a wonderful piece of cross-genre literature.  I enjoyed all of it, and recommend it highly.

The novel begins by revealing that there are active elvish businesses in New Orleans, as in other cities, and that these elves are expected to follow strict rules, to avoid letting humans know about them or about the portals between the human world and Elvenrude.  Kameo Ryndal is assigned by the elvish king to find a violator of the portal rules, but she ends up witnessing the murder of this common elf by humans who also steal his body.  Then she spots another Elite elf, Seth Lormarc, at the scene, and must determine if he is involved.  But Lormarc is there investigating how a common elf breached the portal, and he sees Ryndal as a possible answer to his question.

Members of rival guilds, Lormarc and Ryndal don’t want to work together or trust each other, but as their two investigations continue to cross paths, they have to form an alliance, especially when the human CIA learns of a smuggling operation that may be part of a dangerous elvish conspiracy.  Even though their quest becomes more and more dangerous, revealing a serious threat to Elvenrude, they still develop a strong attraction to each other, making them both more determined to save their world.

I have been a fan of mystery and crime fiction since I was in high school – my father got me hooked on Ellery Queen and others of that ilk.  In the decades since, I have also gotten very fond of fantasy and paranormal romance.  ‘Cross Keys’ appeals to all those interests, and can therefore pull a reader in so deep you don’t want to leave.  Everything is here: intriguing mystery, constant suspense, very appealing characters, well-drawn settings both human and elvish, and surprises around every corner.  Therefore, I rate this book worthy of 5 stars.

I am very grateful for the reviewer’s copy I was sent.

Reviewed by: Roberta

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