Review: Countdown to Murder by Candace Blevins
When it comes to shifters outside of the standard wolf and felines, Ms. Blevins creates some of the most interesting and deadly ones. The start of this book immediately catches my attention because Drake, a certified BAMF dragon shifter doesn't want anything to do with Mira. Mira is being considered as another female for his security company which is short on women bodyguards. If Drake doesn't want her, there must be something very wrong here. But is it? Mira is a very unique shifter not just what she shifts into, but in her upbringing. I confess, her upbringing and training is what attracts me to her.
Mira is a female character I am extremely attracted to... she is essentially a highly trained and highly functional sociopath. There is something about this combo, mixed in with a cute small female that just does it for me. It is as if Ms. Blevins designed the perfect female for to fall in love with. The atrocities which where perpetrated upon her as a child during training and the ones she's committed for her "employer" are pretty intense. For those who are squeamish, there is enough of a highlight to get the gist, but not enough to truly sicken a person. Still, your mileage may vary as I tend to be jaded with ultraviolence and torture.
Learning all about Mira and her responses is fascinating. The character development is so well done. I can visualize Mira and want her to be real so we can be friend, even if it ends up killing me. She would also be an amazing person to learn the art of defense from. Mira's intensity and extreme self control is mind boggling, so when Ms. Blevins pairs her up with Panda, I'm a bit flummoxed. Panda is not a panda shifter. He is a lion shifter and the reason why he has his name is hilarious because I kind of associated it already without knowing his back story. Panda is laid back and tries to do the expend the least amount of energy to accomplish his goals. I can appreciate this style even if I can't do it myself. He is no slouch as a team leader or body guard, it just comes across that due to his size and natural strength, the may not train as hard as a smaller person. For two people who do not usually partner up, this is definitely a learning experience and fun to watch.
The amount of action which takes place in this novella is surprisingly high. This is a compact story with multiple layers, intrigue and a bit of sexy time. For those new to Ms. Blevins, this book can be read as a standalone and the sex scenes are rather tame. Not quite vanilla but as close as I have ever seen from Ms. Blevins. The focus of this story is about Mira's self actualization through the help of friends and a new found lover. I love it.
Several characters from the different series do make a cameo and I love it. I won't spoil who shows up. Suffice to say, there are a couple I would love to see in action. I highly recommend this paranormal romance for suspense readers who enjoy high action, intense characters and BAMF all around.