Author: Vicki Pettersson
Series: Celestial Blues
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Page Count: 432
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he's an angel, but that doesn't make him a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he's been dumped back onto the mortal mudflat to collect another soul—Katherine "Kit" Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped.
Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let the sable-haired siren come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to solve the mystery of his own unsolved murder—and dole out some overdue payback for the death of his beloved wife, Evie.
Joining forces, Kit and Grif's search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn't Grif's biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, along with the answer to the haunting question of his long afterlife . . .
Though the first few chapters were less than inspiring, I’m quite impressed with The Taken by Vicki Pettersson. It’s probably the darkest urban fantasy novel I’ve read, and the seriousness of the topic grasped my attention and held it through until the end. I would have liked to see more in terms of world-building, but I was satisfied with what I got, and I plan on continuing the series.
At first, I wasn’t sold on the protagonists. Griffin Shaw is an angel (sort of) who was murdered in the 60’s, and Kit Craig is a devoted follower of the rockabilly lifestyle. To me, that pairing seemed a little gimmicky, but once Petterrson started going deeper with the storyline, I was able to recognize that Grif and Kit had aspects to them besides the style of their clothing and speech. They’re not, honestly, the most well-rounded characters, but they had enough depth for me to become invested in their issues.
The story (content and plot), however, was what really made The Taken a good read for me. In the opening scenes of the book, Kit’s best friend is murdered on an undercover job in an illegal brothel, and after that, our protagonists join forces to uncover a sex trafficking ring lead by Las Vegas’s high and mighty. I was honestly surprised by how explicit and honest the author got with such a touchy subject, and I liked it a lot. Rather than focusing so much on the angels and mythology, Pettersson grounded The Taken with a very human issue, which made things far more interesting for me as a reader.
Of course, since the book’s primary focus is uncovering the protagonists’ earthly mystery, we missed out on some explanation of the heavenly situation. I have pretty basic grasp of what’s going on, world-building wise, but I definitely would have liked to see more expansion and detail throughout.
In any case, though, The Taken is a well-written, gritty urban fantasy novel that doesn’t sugar-coat humanity’s darker side. The incorporation of angels in the mystery investigation was smooth enough that I believed in it’s realism, and had no major issues suspending my disbelief. I look forward to seeing what future installments will bring.