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In the Midnight Hour: Light Warriors Book 1    by Patti O'Shea order for
In the Midnight Hour
by Patti O'Shea
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Since childhood, Ryne has been trained as a magical troubleshooter, sworn to protect Lesser humans from being harmed by dark magic. For the past six years, she's been on the trail of Anise, a fellow troubleshooter and Ryne's one time mentor. Anise has chosen to embrace dark magic and is wreaking havoc wherever she goes. Ryne's mission escalates once she discovers that Anise has cast a spell over Deke Summers that's left him trapped in the lead character of an animated television series. Now Ryne must release Deke and figure out why Anise hexed him in the first place.

Ryne manages to set Deke free, but his four years playing TV's most popular cartoon PI have left him with little memory of his previous human existence. He neither remembers Anise nor can he come up with any plausible reasons as to why he'd been banished to cartoon land. With so little to work with, Ryne turns to her fellow troubleshooters - as well as the vast collection of spell books from their magical archives - for help. Soon she and the handsome PI are fighting their mutual attraction, but time to build a relationship is fast running out. If they can't locate Anise and reverse her dark spell, Deke will be returned to his cartoon world for good.

O'Shea's magical troubleshooter premise shows real potential, and both Ryne and Deke are appealing characters whose attraction generates a slow burn throughout. Deke's being turned into a cartoon caricature also puts an inventive and sometimes humorous twist to the story. Despite these positives though, there's never any real sense of danger from Anise, who's off stage most of the time. Nor are her motivations for bespelling Deke particularly convincing, once revealed. Even so, In the Midnight Hour was unusual enough to keep me reading, and looking forward to the next installment.

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