This was my first time reading a book by Lisa Edmonds. She writes urban fantasy, and Heart of Malice is the first in a six-book series called simply, the “Alice Worth” series.
Alice has a very disturbing backstory of being tortured by a paranormal organized crime cabal run by her grandfather (how many grandpas are heartless psychos!!!?), and of having to use her wit and magic to escape the deadly org. This is set up to explain her extreme PTSD and inability to trust or get close to anyone, plus her need to create an entire false identity (Alice Worth) for herself going forward. Talk about high stakes!
The story has tons of action, and the magic is explosive. In fact, the author’s descriptions of the magic are what stick in my mind most clearly. This is both a strength, but also a minor critique, in that while I learned a lot, I sometimes found her almost mathematical blow-by-blow explanations of how the magic worked too clinical and almost boring.
That said, the romance between Alice and Sean, an alpha werewolf, who she finally learns to trust just a little (LOL) by novel’s end is hot and I do like both characters. Edmond also creates interesting side characters in Malcom, her ghost assistant who must hide in her earring, Alice’s client, a seemingly wispy victim, and the fashionable, edgy vamp who advises her.
I don't want to reveal any plot points so I dare not explain any more. I will say, it was a big deal for me to read an entire book since the pandemic year, where my desire and ability to read was almost non-existent. I'm happy to report that I am reading at a decent clip again, and working on a new book series, so I will always associate this book with my renewed sense of creativity.
Nothing is simple and the twists keep on coming. A fun start to a long urban fantasy series.