I've been reviewing since 1999, and within the last year I've noticed a trend. I'm reading a butt-load of paranormals. I'm talking a ton here. Some have been good, some have been bad, and a few have been downright ugly. And just when I think I'm getting burnt out on paranormals, a book like Carved In Stone comes along. Vickie Taylor's previous writing credits are some SIM novels. What lesson has Wendy learned? I need to stop ignoring the SIM line.
As a child, Rachel Vandermere witnessed the murder of her parents. While hiding in a cupboard, she also saw a monster - a real monster with claws and wings. Naturally no one believes Rachel, and after being shuttled between shrinks and foster homes she quickly learns to keep her mouth shut. She ends up growing up to be an Interpol agent, and uses the organizations resources to track down her monsters.
While on assignment in Chicago, she meets Nathan Cross, an art history professor who is obviously hiding something. Turns out he's hiding the fact that he's a gargoyle. Created over centuries ago, gargoyles protect humans from evil. But Nathan has been excommunicated from the order for his unpopular views. He feels gargoyles are no long protectors, but feeding on the scraps of human misery. And now, Rachel wants him to help her track down monsters. What will happen when she learns she's fallen in love with one?
Oh man, is there a lot to like here. Nathan is torn between protecting the order and helping Rachel - so while she digs for the truth, he tries to keep it from her. The city of Chicago is written almost Gotham-like, with Taylor painting it with a wide crime-noir brush. Then there are the suspense plots - which are really very good. Danger lurks in the shadows for the gargoyle order, plus Rachel finds out the truth behind her parents' murders.
I also like the fact that while this is book one in a series, Taylor doesn't beat me over the head with that fact. Sure there are secondary characters here, but they all serve a purpose in this story. They don't strut around doing nothing, looking hot and screaming "My book comes out in October 2006."
In fact, the next gargoyle in line to get his own book is really interesting in that he's flawed. He doesn't think much of Nathan - which adds more conflict.
Honestly, this is a very good book. Every time I think I'm burnt out on paranormals (how many vampires can a girl read about? I mean, really!), a book like this one comes along and slaps some sense into me. I don't read much of this sub genre outside of reviewing, but Taylor's gargoyles have certainly landed on my autobuy list.