More Grit, More Awesome: Deadshifted (Edie Spence #4) by Cassie Alexander

More Grit, More Awesome: Deadshifted (Edie Spence #4) by Cassie Alexander

When a series progresses to a certain point, it becomes nearly impossible to discuss without revealing important facets of the previous installments. Such is the case of Cassie Alexander's Edie Spence series, which is now deep into the series at book number four, Deadshifted.  So uncharacteristic brevity on my part is a necessity when talking about how Deadshifted brings even more gritty badassery than the previous installment, Shapeshifted.

I've written extensively about each of the books chronicles the misadventures of Chicago nurse Edie Spence, who found herself embroiled in the paranormal underworld in an effort to save her drug addict brother. This series has a lot to offer: action, drama, strong narrative voice and, of course, Edie's tumultuous love life--if you can call it that. 

[Note: Very minor spoilers of the sort revealed in the official book summaries follow.] 

Edie's latest exploits arrive while she and shapeshifter boyfriend Asher attempt to decompress from their recent encounter with some very nasty paranormal critters and their stressful day jobs at a health clinic in a tough Chicago neighborhood. They've embarked on a cruise and are basking in that new love glow. A promise of better things to come means that things are looking up for Edie.

I concentrated on the warmth of his hand as he held mine. He had a normal body temperature, which I liked. I’d dated zombies before, and they were cool, while werewolves could be too hot. If I were Goldilocks, Asher--the shapeshifter--was just right. 

Naturally, this being Edie's life, those precious moments of blissful peace don't last.

Someone from Asher's past is also on the cruise and his presence doesn't sit quite right. Then people on the ship start getting sick, really sick; it's up to Edie and Asher to stop whatever is behind this mess before it's too late.

Deadshifted just might be my favorite of the Edie Spence series. It ups the ante once again, and Alexander doesn't hold back from the gritty darkness that characterizes this series.  

That darkness has fully extended into Edie's love life, which by this point firmly avoids any possibility of appearinly remotely fairy tale-like. I hadn't expected to buy into Asher as a love interest for Edie, since there have been other, in some ways more appealing, possibilities, but his being perhaps the most unlikely partner for her is also the most intriguing in terms of the complexity of their relationship.

Asher could make anyone like him. I watched him with a mixture of jealousy and awe, and the realization dawned that I was engaged to [spoiler removed] a hustler. Not that that was a bad thing, at least not in Asher’s case. But it was . . . a thing. Something I’d never had to deal with before. 

It takes a deft storytelling hand to elegantly shift a series' paradigm, but Deadshifted is quite successful at doing so.

(If you watch The Good Wife, the "Hitting the Fan" episode is a fantastic example of this).

I imagine this shift in circumstances will ultimately help keep this series fresh where others falter. By the conclusion of this story, Edie's facing a bigger challenge than ever before, and I'm not sure how she'll navigate her way out of this new mess. However, it definitely propelled Edie's larger story arc forward, which is particularly impressive as it's more of a standalone than any of the previous novels. (It reminded me of what Patricia Briggs did with River Marked, my controversial favorite installment in the long-running Mercy Thompson series.)

I've grown weary of series which feel unfocused and that each book serves the continuation of the series rather than a larger story and character progression (I'm looking at you, Sookie Stackhouse), but even this far in, the Edie Spence novels read that they're moving in a focused, and diabolical, direction.

Even if you're not normally a paranormal or urban fantasy fan, this is a series you'll want to take a look at--trust me. It's got all the elements of a thriller, and has much in common with hard-boiled action-oriented mysteries. But, this series has the added benefit of a memorable, tough, well-developed female lead in the form of Edie Spence.

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Other CEFS Posts About the Edie Spence Series:

Disclosure: Review copy provided by the publisher.

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