Look out Sin City, here comes the Mystic Caravan Circus.
The city that never sleeps has something lurking in the darkness and Poet Parker can’t decide if it’s friend or foe. The rich history of the area comes into play when research uncovers a mine disaster more than a hundred years in the past … and a tragic outcome that still haunts the locale to this day.
Between dust storms bringing forth a creature with glowing red eyes, screams in the desert and Poet’s increasing conviction that they’re not alone, the team has their hands full. That’s on top of the fact that Max decides now is the time to make his move and get to know his son – who also happens to be Poet’s boyfriend – in a new light and the unwelcome realization that Luke has seemingly become obsessed with gambling.
Poet’s attention is split in numerous directions, although Luke’s quagmire is closest to her heart. She wants to help her best friend, even as he spirals out of control. He’s not the same best friend she’s spent the past few years loving, but she’s determined to get him back … even if it means facing off with some of Las Vegas’ most perilous residents.
The mystical world of the circus is due to collide with the dangerous underbelly of the gambling world and the two sides might not be as far apart as they initially assume.
When the dust storm settles – and the final battle is upon them – more than one person will be in danger … and Poet will have to make a hard choice to protect those she loves while sacrificing someone else to the unending darkness.
It’s the ultimate game, but money isn’t the only thing at risk.
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I think this series is little darker than the average paranormal cozy and the world created is even more fantastical. For those reasons I call this series a cozy-mystery-meets-fantasy.
The mystery: The real mystery is why is there a sand monster attacking innocent passers-by? The back story on the desert area in which the troupe is staying is one that is interesting and revealed as Poet and company delve into the case, determined to remove this creature and the dangers it poses. But there is a current murder as well. I don’t think the reason for that murder is fully explained and I would have liked more development and a better resolution on that front.
Characters: Poet and Kade are back on track with their relationship and Max and Kade are trying to find a way to co-exist as father and son. Luke, Poet’s best friend, is feeling a bit left out as Poet focuses on her relationship. He finds ways to cope with his insecurities, even if not in the healthiest manner. Issues such as addiction, trust and friendship are explored through these interactions.
The world created in this series is a rich and imaginative one, which allows for many aspects to intrigue and entertain the reader. I would also say there are some shades of gray in the resolution of this story.
While I found the mystery a little lacking, I continue to enjoy the themes, character development and all the players in this series.
I give this story 4/5 Freaky espresso shots.