There is "not enough" trend in this book, IMHO.
Human Bart's not sick enough the way his illness is described.
Pest does not care enough & not emotional enough. He is detached and doesn't spend enough time with Bart.
Pest and Death talk about secrecy but they are not secretive enough. In fact they can't seem to keep their mouths shut.
The whole falling in love process is not convincing enough.
The whole case of pandemic about to explode is not believable either.
There have been three brutal attacks with multiple victims, but so far @60% the MCs have just one sorta kinda maybe theory. Instead of investigating, they have unrelated to the investigation talk, drink tea, hang out with relatives, have more tea, more talk, hang out here and there again, insult each other on occasion, talk and drink more tea.
If a casual hang out drinking tea and having conversations thing butters your cucumber sandwich, then this story is for you. However, I am done.
1 star. Sorry, JD, this simply is not my cup of tea.
One of the best series I've ever read.
By the looks of it, there is going to be a #6 and a good chance for a #7 =)
Best part, don't worry about gaps in between the books if you can't read them straight up. This one is so easy to remember. There is only a handful of characters and a simple universe where anything goes. If you manage to remember a (dead) Witch Council, 2.5 MCs (cause very prominent zombie dog for a pet) and 4 secondary characters, you are golden! Oh.... and Donald Drumpf Trump. He is a part of this book, and you just cannot forget THAT character, no matter how much you try.
yeah, now you know why I tagged this book "horror" and "humor" at the same time
PS I just want to mention: this series is urban fantasy at it's finest truest purest self. A major city, Indianapolis, to be precise, is housing all kind of magical creatures that human population is not aware of. A human detective along with his friends - a few humans with and without psy abilities and paranormal/magical creatures - battle the dark forces. It's not simply taking action in a city, it sticks to the tradition. An extra star just for that. And that makes it SIX
I hope the author forgives me for my speculations, but I am just sharing my personal impression of the book.
It seems to me the story was started some time ago, like a decade or two. When the author came back to it, tho, she did with gusto and somehow propelled the time period from regency or maybe even early 20th century to 2013 without a single glance back. All that I like had ended with Chapter 12. Chapter 13 welcomed us with a very sudden and very vicious addiction to cell phones, texts, voicemail and turning the damn thing on and off. Energy bars, credit cards, modern technology and modern jargon (started with "dunno") is suddenly all over the place.
Everyone is high on caffeine and sugar, hence, I assume, all the giggling, chuckling, laughing, smiling and so on (thesaurus was thoroughly exploited in this story). MC did a 180 and turned into a complete gigglepuss by 60%.
Then, there is all that food and clothes. The author is like a vice, she latches onto a subject and can't let go even after a new shiny pops up :(
Consort/Master dynamics, inappropriate and overused crude dirty jokes appeared to be all wrong to me. Maybe I am overly PC, but I cringed most of the time when Julian stepped in to discuss his responsibilities as a consort. Why is he even male? O.o Alex's "mounds" got pretty old and overused pretty fast; several characters managed to come off as sexist as**oles.
I started the book looking forward to a mystery. I got over my disappointment on that matter very early in the book and decided to enjoy fantasy of manners, magic and The Courtship instead. Chapter 13 (yes, I know, I already mentioned it), disappointed me again. The Courtship stopped. The old charm disappeared. Modern world and modern jargon with multiple new inane characters, whose names mostly start with J, took over.
Means of communication: first it was just a messenger or an occasional phone call, then it was cell-cell-cell, and t-h-e-n, because Alex/Julian relationship is not cheesy enough, we got Horace, The Messenger bird, who carried Alex's and Julian's letters in his chest where its heart supposed to be.
I did enjoy bits of a story, finding the courtship and magic fascinating, too bad it was given up for clothes, food, drinks and endless empty banter. Is ever a revised, well edited version comes out, I will give it a second chance. For now I can only give it one star.