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Curse the Dark    by Laura Anne Gilman order for
Curse the Dark
by Laura Anne Gilman
Order:  USA  Can
Luna, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

In this sequel to last year's Staying Dead, Wren Valeres is back along with her boss and sometime sidekick, Sergei Didier. Wren is a retriever; she tracks down stolen items using her ability to manipulate electric currents to perform magic. She also works without the approval of the Mage Council, so is also known as a 'one jack' Though she's not crazy about doing another job for the Silence (a secret organization that monitors magic), her bank account is hurting and the job, as outlined by Sergei, seems easy enough - tracking down an ancient manuscript that's gone missing from an Italian monastic order.

Once Wren and Sergei reach Italy, things get increasingly complicated. There's no sign of the manuscript. Worse, monks inform them that whoever reads the ancient pages ends up disappearing. New leads take them back to New York where they soon discover that the manuscript is hidden away in a private library they have no chance of getting into; it's protected by various unbreakable spells that even a lone jack's powers can't bypass. And that's only the beginning of what's been happening back on their home turf since they popped over to Italy to carry out a simple retrieval.

Gilman has created a hip and sassy character in Wren and a sophisticated and darkly mysterious one in Sergei. They make a wonderful pair and it's obvious that the romance brewing between them has ramped up. There are occasions though, when the sexual chemistry and situations Gilman establishes seem forced or unrealistic. She does set up a nice aura of mystery and introduces a variety of ambiguous leads, as the pair (as well as a few amusing helpers) try to find out who's messing with things within their supernatural world. Curse the Dark is an entertaining paranormal mystery and Laura Anne Gilman has done a commendable job of building her singular world.

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