About eighteen months ago, I wrote a dual review of Patricia Briggs' Moon Called and Blood Bound here. These were the first two books in the Mercy Thompson series.
A year after that first post, I did a review of Briggs' third book Iron Kissed. While some romance readers did not like the book, I thought it was fabulous. Briggs addressed a sensitive subject and handled it masterfully.
Mercy is a thirty-something skinwalker who lives in Washington state. Here's my description from the first review:
A skinwalker is the Native American version of a shapeshifter. Mercy's mother had a brief fling with an itinerant Native American, who died in a car accident before Mercy was born. When Mom reached into the crib to pick up her baby and found a coyote pup instead, she knew she had a problem. Fortunately, a relative was able to direct her to the leader of the werewolf nation so Mercy was dropped off to be raised among shifters. Only the head werewolf's dominance prevented the wolves from killing the coyote, their natural enemy.
Mercy has no clan of her own. When the vampires came to America, they killed off all the skinwalkers because the Native America shapeshifters were immune to vampire magic. Mercy is forced to navigate alone among all the other species of magical beings: werewolves, vampires and the fae.
Briggs does a terrific job of characterizing Mercy, who is clever, a kick-ass heroine and vulnerable--all at once.
Now the fourth book Bone Crossed has been released, and I am happy to say I believe the series just continues to get better. Instead of resting on her laurels, Briggs continues to deepen the characterizations of Mercy and her friends.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS BOOK (IRON KISSED) IN THE FOLLOWING:
In Bone Crossed, Mercy is healing from the brutal rape she endured in Iron Kissed. She is helped by her growing closeness to her werewolf suitor, Adam.
As the book opens, she learns that Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, now knows that Mercy was responsible for the death of one of Marsilia's favorites. A pair of crossed swords appears on the door of Mercy's garage as a sign to all vampires that a traitor is within. Rather than going directly after Mercy, Marsilia begins to hurt the people Mercy cares about.
Mercy decides the better part of valor is to make herself scarce. She accepts an invitation to visit Spokane, where one of her college friends is living in a haunted house and has asked for her help. Unfortunately, Mercy is not in Spokane for twelve hours before she attracts the attention of the local vampire leader, one known by the nickname "The Monster." Between the malignant ghost who is hurting her friend's young son and The Monster, Spokane is not a happy place.
I read the book overnight. I found both the action and the development of the characters to be first-rate. I can highly recommend both the book and this series. One of my favorite things about it is that Mercy is not just a kick-ass heroine; she comes across as a real person with real issues and real responses.
If you're wanting to read an urban fantasy, you can't go wrong with Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series.