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Matters of the Blood    by Maria Lima order for
Matters of the Blood
by Maria Lima
Order:  USA  Can
Juno, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Keira Kelly belongs to a family of supernaturals whose lineage and lifespan is vast and far-flung. Her various siblings and in-laws have either a single talent or a combination, that run the gamut from shape shifting to mind reading. Keira however, has not yet grown into her particular talent and has been relegated to living in the small Texas town of Rio Seco to keep an eye on her ne'er do well cousin Marty, who's a mortician by day and a small time wheeler dealer the rest of the time. Needless to say, Keira is getting a tad frustrated bailing him out of trouble, whether monetary or otherwise - but her frequent ultimatums fall on deaf ears.

As Marty continues frazzling her last nerve, Keira gets pulled into the mystery surrounding the gruesome deaths of animals at a former game ranch. Newly arrived sheriff Carlton Larson (Keira's former love interest) figures it's a cult (who else would drain the carcasses of blood?) and is determined to get to the bottom of these odd depredations. Keira on the other hand, recognizes a pattern that's got nothing to do with humans and everything to do with certain members of her own supernatural society. Things get even more complicated when Marty is found laid out on his embalming table, his body completely drained of blood. Keira's patience with Marty's antics may have worn thin, but they were related. She's determined to find his killers. Further investigation reveals that the game ranch had recently been purchased by another man from Keira's past, one Adam Walker. He and his so-called clients seem to be harboring even more secrets that Marty. As for Adam's intentions toward Keira - those are anything but innocent.

Debut author Maria Lima has created an intriguing and diverse supernatural society in Matters of the Blood, with a spunky, entertaining lead in Keira Kelly. The story is nicely written and the first person point of view keeps the action totally focused on Keira as she tries to link the mystery surrounding Marty's death with the secluded ranch killings. There's also plenty of sexual tension, chemistry and machismo as two love interests vie for Keira's attention. Along the way Lima introduces more of Keira's eccentric relatives as well as intriguing speculation concerning Keira's own burgeoning supernatural talents, which the author will hopefully re-visit in a sequel or two.

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