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The Sweet Scent of Blood
Suzanne McLeod
Gollancz, 352 pages

The Sweet Scent of Blood
Suzanne McLeod
Suzanne Mcleod has been a cocktail waitress, dance group promoter and barmaid at Coventry City Football Club (the last despite having no love for the beautiful game; she had to pay the rent somehow!) After years in retail management, she started writing. The Sweet Scent of Blood, the first of the SPELLCRACKERS.COM series, is her first novel. She lives with her husband and rescue dogs in Bournemouth.

Suzanne McLeod Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Katherine Petersen

Genevieve (Genny) Taylor works at, a company designed to diffuse magic before it can do damage. Genny, the only sidhe fae in London, can crack spells and absorb magic, but she can't cast even the simplest spell. In this magical world that is London but not London, humans and the supernatural mingle together, so you can buy charms at Witch Central, a downtown market; ride the underground with goblins; or have a troll as the police detective on a case. And then there are the vampires who have improved their reputation among humans to celebrity status. But then there is Genny who isn't human.

Mr. October, one of the celebrity vampires, is accused of killing his girlfriend, and to repay a long-ago debt, Genny must investigate and try to find the real murderer. The vampires may have attained celebrity status, but we see their darker side, their long-time feuds and their nasty political games. Genny's investigation leads her smack into the middle of all the mind-games and one-upmanship.

Genny has her own secrets and internal struggles she must face as well. And no good urban fantasy is complete without romantic tension, so it's no surprise that Genny is attracted not only to her soon-to-be-boss (a satyr -- yep, with horns) and an oh-so-sexy vampire.

Suzanne McLeod has created a riveting urban fantasy with The Sweet Scent of Blood, the first installment in her series. Vivid descriptions, terrific characters and a complex and intriguing plot make this one of the best urban fantasies I've read in a while. McLeod dispenses bits and pieces of Genny's past, but question still remain, which, I'm assuming and hoping, will be answered in the next book, The Cold Kiss of Death. The plot twists and turns, and readers must pay close attention to stay apace and not get lost. I didn't want the book to end, so at about page 220, I started over again to prolong the experience. Very few books have me re-reading them before I've finished them once.

With witches and vampires aplenty in urban fantasy and paranormal romance, it's nice to see the fae playing a starring role. Genny's character, with an ability to take care of herself, a strong loyalty to her friends and her own internal struggles, captivated me. Genny hasn't had an easy life, to say the least, although we don't learn her complete history in this book, what we do learn is fascinating. Genny's magic heightens her sensitivity to scent, and descriptions of scent -- different bloods have different scents, and different scents bring up different emotions for Genny such as the comforting aroma of gardenias.

McLeod pokes a bit of fun at celebrities with the vampires, and does a wonderful job of giving each their own personality. With Earl, Declan and Malik, it's a wonder Genny can figure out who to trust, especially when you throw in the vampire's ability to mesmerize. McLeod keeps the plot moving forward at a steady clip leaving no chance for a reader to lose interest. Her characters jump off the page and her descriptions, whether of the Blue Heart, the Rosy Lea Café or in Genny's apartment, make the places come alive in the reader's mind. McLeod is a welcome new voice to the urban fantasy genre, and I can't wait to read The Cold Kiss of Death.

Copyright © 2009 Katherine Petersen

Katherine Petersen started reading as a young child and hasn't stopped. She still thinks she can read all the books she wants, but might, at some point, realize the impossibility of this mission. While she enjoys other genres, she thrives on fantasy, science fiction and mysteries.

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