What I’m Reading Wednesday: The Kate Kane: Paranormal Investigator series, by Alexis Hall

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The Kate Kane series belongs to that sadly underpopulated genre: lesbian paranormal detective romance.  Set in London.

Our heroine is a supernatural private investigator, a thirty three year old faery princess and a teen romance survivor.

With a dead partner, a vampire stalker and an ex-girlfriend who might be a super villain, her life, like her breakfast, is on the rocks.

From book one, you can expect a ill-conceived riot of fedoras, hot vampires, sewers, swarms of intelligent rats, werewolf It Girls, puddings, boylesque performers, murders, tentacle monsters, sex demons, nightclubs, biker wizards, blues bars, magic swords and ninja zombie nuns.  Oh, and karaoke.

The first time I heard about the Kate Kane books, I heard the words ‘lesbian paranormal investigator’, and found my fingers trending inexorably towards Amazon’s ‘Buy Now’ button.

Right. Anyone still here? Clearly you are hard sells. So, Kate Kane is a half-faery PI with problems, having lost, in quick succession, her girlfriend (non-fatally), her business partner (fatally), and quite a lot of her work. Luckily, she still has Patrick, the vampire who’s been stalking her since she was seventeen, despite all attempts to explain to him that she broke up with him because she is a lesbian. No, really.

No, not luckily. The other thing.

So, when word comes that the vampire Prince of Cups wants Kate to investigate a murder outside the Velvet, Kate can’t say no.  Especially since they’re willing to pay her ‘I don’t work with vampires’ fee.

She’s surprised, if not entirely displeased, when the Prince of Cups turns out to be a hot woman. She’s rather less pleased to find out that the victim is a member of one of Britain’s most notorious werewolf families, the Vane-Tempests…

These books strike me as, above all, kind books. It’s not all doom and gloom. Kate presents herself as a hard bitten PI, and maybe she is, but she also has a soft spot for custard creams (who doesn’t?), and, while she’s more than a little disgusted with the romantic teenager she used to be, she’s also got a great amount of compassion for people at risk of the same fate.

Also, approximately 0 of Kate’s angst is related to being a lesbian. In fact, only one of the characters references having been an angsty lesbian, and that was at least 600 years previously, and she has absolutely no angst about it anymore. This is deeply refreshing.

The mystery is well plotted, and new facets come up on the re-read (I think it was re-read four where I sat bolt upright and said ‘X just happened!’ and it is amazing and I love it and come back and ask me what it was when you’ve read it a few times, and maybe I’ll tell you.) I just want to sit in bed with a cup of tea and a lot of custard creams and immerse myself in this story for days on end, but as it is, I shall simply have to rec it to everyone who will stand still long enough.

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