Friday, September 27, 2013

Burning water by Mercedes Lackey

When dead bodies start appearing in Dallas Detective Mark Valdez finds an excuse to bring in his old friend Diana Tregarde in on the case.  For the higher ups Diana is an expert who can help them with the likely cult angle of the murders, but Mark really brought her in because the murders have his occult senses tingling and wants Diana to bring her Guardian skills in to help solve the case.  It is a gruesome case, with the bodies carved, dismembered and generally desecrated by a killer who is using the bodies to raise a great deal of power at the expense of their victims lives. 

The killer they face is no ordinary killer though, they have a knack for hiding their power signature from Diana, and more than once she finds herself failing to grasp the clues that may help them save lives.  As the death toll mounts and the murders become more bloody, Diana begins to feel the strain of the investigation.  To make matters worse, the enemy discovers Diana is on their trail and begins to work against her - and they are not afraid to kill to get what they want.  As Mark and Diana get closer to the source of the evil threat hanging over Dallas, they are also getting closer to danger and a price that neither of them want to pay.

Burning water is the first book published in the Diana Tregarde series, but when you read the series it is the second book if you look chronologically at the characters story.  It doesn't matter which order you read the books in because the stories are very separate, but I did enjoy the story more this time around having read Children of the night recently so the characters were fresher in my mind and I didn't have to stumble over remembering who the different characters were.  This is a very different kind of series for Mercedes Lackey, and fans of her Valdemar books may struggle with the content which is edgier and darker than her other works - it is more in line with the work of authors like Kim Harrison and Patricia Briggs.

This is an old series now, Burning water was originally published in 1989, but it has dated well - mainly because the characters are the focal point of the story rather than the technology.  That said though, it was somewhat funny reading about floppy discs and slow data over a modem - things that most of us don't even think about anymore.  I hadn't really intended to read Burning water again anytime soon, but after reading Children of the night and having nothing else to read I dived in and read the book in just over a day - next on my reading hit list is Jinx high (but that will wait until after I have read a few more books on my library book shelf).

Burning water is a real departure for Mercedes Lackey, but also shows the diversity and skill she has as an author - creating an absorbing and deeply creepy world where mythology and magic are blended together into a believable and gripping story.  Not for the faint hearted, the terror and horror are expertly rendered without gratuitous detail.

If you like this book then try:
  • Children of the night by Mercedes Lackey
  • Jinx high by Mercedes Lackey
  • Blood price by Tanya Huff
  • Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff
  • Burning water by Mercedes Lackey
  • Spiders bite by Jennifer Estep
  • Dead witch walking by Kim Harrison
  • Angel's blood by Nalini Singh
  • Cast in shadow by Michelle Sagara
  • Kitty and the midnight hour by Carrie Vaughn
  • Moon called by Patricia Briggs
  • Cry wolf by Patricia Briggs

Reviewed by Brilla

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