The Sparrow and the Hawk
by Meg Lacey
Product Description (from Amazon.com):
Jillie Harte, code name the Sparrow, a documentary film maker is an agent for the NAS (Normal, Abnormal, Strange) Agency. Her assignment-find The Carmaletta Choker before it falls into the wrong hands and destroys the world. Franklin Doherty and associates are suspected of having the choker, and they are definitely the wrong hands! To get close to Franklin, Jillie is producing a film on “Decoration, Fashion and Accessories Throughout History,” featuring his antique collection. Her assignment is complicated by Griff Ryland, her new, hot cameraman, who is also looking for the necklace. Griff is an enigma. Is he friend or foe? And why is she so distracted by his “pure sex on a stick” appeal? Like the Sparrow, Griff, aka the Hawk, needs to retrieve the choker. It disappeared from his dimension years before, and his job is to bring it back. Since he can shapeshift into a hawk or a mountain lion at a moment’s notice, Griff feels certain of success. But he doesn’t bargain for a sassy, sexy redhead-and for his overwhelming urge to settle their differences in bed. Now Griff and Jillie must not only overcome the deadly dark forces who want the choker, but they must also face their developing relationship. And they thought saving the world from evil and chaos was hard!!!!
When I received the ARC of The Sparrow and the Hawk, the latest novel from Meg Lacey, I was already excited. I’d been asked to review it, and was already in love with the story just from the description.
Reading it only cemented my love for this genre-blurring adventure. It’s a paranormal romance, but it’s also an urban fantasy, a black comedy, and a mystery/thriller with a dash of horror. It’s fast-paced, funny, and completely absorbing, and the only flaw is that it’s BOOK ONE in an intended trilogy, so while the core story is wrapped up, there are enough dangling threads to leave readers like me knotted up in frustration and anticipation.
Let’s talk about the main characters: Jillie is an unconventional heroine. Sure, she works for the NAS (Normal, Abnormal, Strange) agency, but she’s also very real – and flawed. She’s a little impulsive and she acts like she has something to prove – as if she’s not working for her own fulfillment but to please her dead mother. Then there’s Griff, whose back story unfolds more slowly. We, the reader, know he’s a shapeshifter, but Jillie does not, though she does know (as do we all) that he’s sex on a stick. (A note about Lacey’s world building here: I like that Griff’s shapeshifting comes at a cost – he has to expend real energy in order to do it, which means it’s not an instant fix to every problem.)
The other characters, sinister Declan, flamboyant Franklin, and Nigel (who seems to run hot and cold) as well as the women (Perdita, especially) are all vivid, as well. Franklin’s house really caught my attention, reminding me of a cross between the Winchester Mystery House and the game board from Clue. (When Jillie makes an offhand remark about the game of Clue, I felt vindicated.) And Franklin himself is a character I would have liked to know better. When we meet him is mostly-dark, but I think seeing his progression – descent, even – would make an interesting pre-quel.
Lacey knows how to set a scene. From Franklin’s house to the Arizona desert to a sort of otherspace within each where the walls between normal and strange completely crumble, there is always a sense of place. You can’t always track the journey from point A to point B, but you always know what each point looks and feels like.
Bottom line? I loved this novel. I’m looking forward to a time when my review queue is a little thinner so I can re-read it. I CANNOT WAIT for the next in the series.
Goes well with…hot tea and a chocolate chip muffin.