The Ghoul Vendetta is book four in the SPI Files Novels, but it holds up well as a standalone, as the author gives enough background to let you know some of the back story of what has gone before. The book is focused around the lead character, Makenna Fraser, who also narrates the story. Makenna is a seer and agent for the Supernatural Protection and Investigations agency, or SPI for short.
The story starts off action-packed right from the get-go, with a vampire gangster's nephew abducted off his yacht by some sea creatures resembling the lead from the Creature from the Black Lagoon; if that's not enough, in comes a Kraken to make it really exciting.
Makenna is in the thick of things during the abduction as she was on a date on board the yacht with her boyfriend, Rake Danescu. Rake is not your average boyfriend, unless you date super-hot-looking goblins who also happen to be extremely high-level dark mages. Makenna and Rake manage to survive the attack, only a little worse for wear. Ian Byrne and Alaine Moreau enter the story right after the attack. Ian is Makenna's SPI partner and self-appointed protector, one who is not overly fond of her choice in boyfriends. Alaine is her boss and also an ancient vampire.
While trying to figure out the abduction case, the team must also face a series of bank heists that are perpetrated by a group of zombies who like to eat bank guards alive on camera. The general public think these zombies are evil men in masks doing horrible deeds, but the SPI know better. The zombies are led by an ancient shapeshifter who has an ax to grind with Ian. Ian's last partner was eaten by this evil persona several years ago and he feels responsible for not being able to save him. Aside from being the one who got away, no one can quite figure out what the obsession the shapeshifter has for Ian.
As tension builds and cases collide, the agents realize that these cases are all part of some elaborate plan that the shapeshifter, Janus as he has now named himself, has set in motion.
When he sets a trap and manages to kidnap Ian, Makenna and the SPI pull out all the stops to save Ian and put an end to Janus's diabolical plans. With the help of Rake and a team of dragon-riding goblins, as well as werewolves and vampires, witches and humans, they set out to stop the end of the world.
Will their team be able to accomplish such a monumental task or will outside forces step in to change the outcome, and, if so, for whose side?
I found The Ghoul Vendetta an enjoyable read. It had a nice build and gave some background information on the characters for those like me who hadn't read any of the prior novels. I will go back later and read the books leading up to this one; I think it will make me appreciate the characters even more in the long run. I'm looking forward to reading more books by Lisa Shearin. ~~ Dee Astell
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