TITLE: Stormrise (Storm Chronicles #1)
AUTHOR: Skye Knizley
GENRE: Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
PUBLISHED: October 30th, 2013
Stormrise is the first book in the Storm Chronicles series by Skye Knizley. The human world and the supernatural underground are separate in Knizley’s tale. While some humans know about the things that go bump in the night, most of Chicago’s population have no idea Vampires, Lycans, Ghouls or other nightmare creatures exist.
“Humans found a strange and inexplicable excitement, never knowing they were rubbing shoulders with monsters.”
The main character is Raven Storm, a Dhampyr and Detective on the Chicago Police Force. Raven Storm is the alter-ego of Fürstin Ravenel Tempeste the youngest daughter and right hand (a.k.a. enforcer) to Valentina Tempeste-Strohm, Mistress of the city and leader of Chicago’s supernaturals. Raven became a detective following the death of her father. She carries her father’s old gun and drives his old car; the memory of her father plays a large role in how she conducts herself in the line of duty and sometimes in her everyday life. A mix of Dirty Harry and Calleigh Duquesne (from CSI Miami). Raven Storm has a big gun, she never misses, and she’ll solve the case while wearing her favorite red bottoms.
“After a few moments, her eyes fell on the small-framed photo of her and her father in front of the old sixth district. He had been a stern man, but always gentle with his daughter, regardless of the day’s events. His death had been the reason Raven had joined the police force rather than living out her life as her mother’s bodyguard and fetch-all.”
“Dad always said skill was fifty percent luck. I think he was right. “
“It was her idea of casual work attire and she looked like she had stepped off the cover of a magazine”
“It’s an Automag III, made by AMT. My father left it to me. His note said I was never to leave home without it, and I never have. It fires the thirty-caliber carbine round, more power than a three-fifty-seven magnum with a little lighter recoil due to the heavy springs inside the slide.
Raven’s regular partner is out of commission so she gets partnered up with the resident idiot of the force, detective Rupert Levac a.k.a Codumbo. But Levac is much more than he seems. There’s nothing dumb about him. He might be a slob but he’s no slouch as a detective.
“As usual, he looked like he had neither showered nor shaved in days. He had stubble you could light matches on, his rumpled suit had been slept in, and pieces of pickle and a stream of ketchup streaked down his tie.”
“How can you tell from here?” Raven shaded her sensitive eyes against the sun. “The pile of cigarettes on the street next to it and the cloud of smoke that comes out the window every now and then,” Levac answered. Raven looked at Levac with a new sense of respect.“
Stormrise follows Raven and Levac, as they investigate a series of strange and gruesome murders; in which the victims seemed to have exploded from the inside out. The case goes to Raven because well she gets all the weird cases.
“The rest of the squad,” he replied. “They were telling me you get all the weird ones. They’re absolutely right.”
“Honestly…do you ever get a basic crime of passion? A run-of-the-mill murder?” “If I did, I wouldn’t know what to do with it,” Raven replied. “I’m getting used to cases like this. Did you find anything else in our staged ritualistic crime scene?”
Levac was a character that grew on me quickly; his character impressed me throughout the book. He proved to be an exceptional partner to Raven, proving the age old adage don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
“Raven shook her head and straightened, facing down the much larger man. She was about to reply when Levac pressed his pistol to the side of the alpha’s head. “That’s my partner you slapped across the dance floor,” he said in a calm voice. “All we wanted was to ask you a few polite questions. Now you are under arrest for assaulting an officer. Want to try resisting arrest?”
Not long into the book we meet Francois De Guerre who becomes Raven’s love interest. I instantly disliked Francois. Although the author wrote his character as charming, I found him to be cheesy and slick. Things began to move too fast between Francois and Raven, in a way that was forced and unnatural. Francois was a stranger to Raven when they met. Raven’s unnatural attraction to him is a contradiction with the personality the author created for Raven’s character. She may be a fashionista but she is a bad-ass, take no shit, no holds barred detective. It just isn’t realistic that in her spare time, she would jump into bed with a man she hardly knows anything about; or that she would rely on and trust him with her personal safety on so many occasions; she doesn’t even trust her own partner who she’s known for a while enough to trust him with the knowledge of the supernatural underground.
“You are truly a delight to behold, Ravenel,” he said in the formal tones of the Court. “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Your mother has told me much about you, though not enough to pierce the veil of mystery surrounding you.”
“She watched the beautiful vampire bow to her mother and then take a seat at one of the empty tables arranged for Court guests. Though she found it difficult, she dragged her eyes away from him and returned her attention to the proceedings”
“Now tell me about this Du Guerre guy. He seems to think you want us attached at the hip.”
“Can we go?” she asked with a hand on his arm. Du Guerre looked down at Raven and nodded. “Of course, Ravenel. Where would you like to go?” Raven licked her lips, making her red lipstick glisten in the light. “Where do you think?” she purred.”
There is a point in the story where I wonder if Detective Levac may be interested in Raven as more than just his partner. Is this the setup for the next story? The murder investigation leads Raven and Levac to the supernatural underground looking for leads. Levac knows Raven is hiding something from him, but he trusts her enough to let it slide. For now.
“A date?” Levac asked with mock surprise. “Like, with a man? A living, breathing guy?” “Oh, shut up, Levac.” Raven walked quickly toward the exit. “Remember, I hit what I aim at.” She closed the door behind her, not registering Levac’s gaze or the disappointment on his face.”
“Fantasy, huh? So how did he toss you a good ten feet and how come that slap didn’t snap your neck like a Popsicle stick?”
“I hammed it up,” Raven said. “Come on, if he was really that strong he and his cronies would have mopped the floor with us.”
Levac didn’t look convinced, but shrugged and leaned up against the window. “If that’s your story.”
As Raven and Levac work the murder case, we learn that Raven isn’t your average by the book detective. She’ll do whatever is necessary to solve the case and she isn’t too worried about the rules. At times her loyalty stretched thin between her duties to uphold the laws of Chicago and her duties to the vampire court. But she has no problem using her title as Fürstin, to strong-arm some of the underworld citizens into submission to further her police investigations.
“It isn’t always easy. Sometimes my worlds collide and the results are not pretty. I take my duty to the law very seriously, just as seriously as my ties to my family. Having to decide between the two has made my life difficult on more than one occasion.”
“Hi, I’m Fürstin Ravenel, the Mistress’s daughter and chosen one. You’re not. If you want to live through the night, nod and open the door for me.”
Eventually, Raven and Levac solve the murder case. Raven finds out too late this murder case had more players, and motives than she thought; and Stormrise ends with an unexpected plot twist.
I enjoyed Stormrise, and found it refreshing. But the majority of the book focuses on Raven and Levac solving their murder case. The murder turned out to have been orchestrated by a supernatural being but was not a supernatural crime. Because of that one item, Stormrise reads as a mystery with a hint of Urban Fantasy, as opposed to an Urban fantasy with a little mystery mixed in.
Stormrise is a good read. If you have a hankering for a mystery with a side of paranormal this book definitely is for you