ORDER A COPY: Under Wraps (The Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles)
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Company
Publishing Date: March 1, 2011
Paperback: 343 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
As a human immune to magic, Sophie Lawson can help everyone from banshee to zombie transition into normal, everyday San Francisco life. With a handsome werewolf as her UDA boss and a fashionista vampire for a roommate, Sophie knows everything there is to know about the undead, the unseen, and the uncanny. . .
Until a rash of gruesome murders has demons and mortals running for cover, and Sophie finds herself playing sidekick to detective Parker Hayes. Dodging raging bloodsuckers, bad-tempered fairies, and love-struck trolls is one thing. But when Sophie discovers Parker isn’t what he seems, she’s got only one chance to figure out whom to trust. Because an evil hiding in plain sight is closing in. . .and about to make one wisecracking human its means to ultimate power.
Sophie Lawson is the only human working at the Underworld Detection Agency. The Underworld Detection Agency monitors, regulates and assists demons in the San Francisco area, sort of like the Social Security Office for demons. Sophie’s mother and grandmother were Seers, so Sophie is the only human or “breather” on staff since she is immune to magics and glamours.
This is the first chapter of The Underground Detection Agency Chronicles. We meet Sophie Lawson, the only human at UDA. She is working as the secretary—I mean Administrative Assistant to the gorgeous and sexy Pete Sampson, head of the UDA and werewolf, whom Sophie has a bit of a crush on. Part of her duties for Mr. Sampson is to chain him in his office each night so that he doesn’t go on a rampage through the streets of San Francisco.
SFPD Detective Parker Hayes comes to Mr. Sampson requesting his help on some very disturbing murders in the area, including a victim drained of blood and another who was shredded within minutes. Since Mr. Sampson cannot wander the city loose at night, he offers Sophie’s assistance to the SFPD since she is the most knowledgeable about the various supernatural types.
As they try to nail down the killer, Sophie attempts to introduce Det. Hayes to the world of the underworld supernaturals, including an introduction to Sophie’s best friend and roommate, vampire Nina LaShay. While Sophie is working with SFPD, Nina is supposed to be chaining up Mr. Sampson, but since Nina is a bit flighty, she quickly forgets. Clues start leading in the direction of a werewolf and Det. Parker begins to look toward the missing Pete Sampson, but Sophie can’t be convinced that her Mr. Sampson would ever be a killer, werewolf or not.
The longer she works with Det. Hayes, Sophie can’t decide if she wants to punch him or kiss him, and then questions start to emerge that Det. Hayes is not being 100 percent honest with Sophie.
I treated myself; taking the time to backtrack to this first story in the series. I had so thoroughly enjoyed Under Attack and just finished Under Suspicion, and wanted to see how the series began. Although I didn’t think this story was as humorous as the other two stories, it was just as well written and enjoyable, and I finished it in a day. If you are a fan of Urban Fantasy, I would definitely recommend this series to you. If you haven’t tried it yet, grab a copy of Under Wraps and get started today. You will be happy you did.
“So,” Nina repeated, her midnight-dark eyes glittering, “how was your day with Officer Love? Excellent? Wonderful? A freak show of wild, breather sex?”
“I’m sitting right here!” Vlad moaned.
“You’re one hundred and twelve, get over it. Humans have sex,” Nina called back.
I downed my wine and Nina frowned.
“That bad, huh?” she asked.
“Not with Officer Lo—I mean Detective Hayes. He’s fine—straddles the fine line between obnoxious and wonderfully hot—but fine. It’s this case.” I shuddered. “There was another murder today.”
I saw the top of Vlad’s head poke over his laptop screen as he listened in. Nina looked away, reaching for an out-of-date InStyle magazine on the coffee table. “I still don’t see why this is such a big deal. Everyone kills everyone in this city. Everyone’s either dead, undead or dying.”
I raked my fingers through my hair. “Nina, this is serious. The crime scene, it was awful. It was a woman our—or, my—age. There was blood everywhere.” I tried to swallow, but my throat was dry. “And someone removed the woman’s heart.”
Nina’s eyes flashed. “Removed it?”
“Removed it?” Vlad repeated. “Completely?”
I nodded. “Gone. Hayes is convinced it’s a vampire.”
“Stupid,” Vlad groaned, going back to his computer game.
Nina raised an eyebrow and snapped a magazine page, ignoring Vlad. “Is that so?” She sat forward. “Does this detective even know anything about vampires? Anything at all? Humf.” She snapped another page. “He probably thinks we’re anti-garlic too.”
“You hate garlic.”
Nina pinned me with a glare. “It gives me bad breath.”
Vlad chuckled from his spot at the table.
Nina rolled her eyes. “Anyway. We don’t do hearts. Or waste blood. Ever. Starving vamps in Africa, you know?” She pointed, her eyes narrowed…
I sunk back into the couch, my stomach gurgling. “I can’t think of fashion right now. People are dying. And other people are thinking it’s coming from the Underworld. You know—
Nina wrinkled her pixie nose. “I know. Delicate balance between worlds, blah, blah, blah.” She tossed the magazine and kicked her legs up onto the coffee table, balancing her chin in her palm. “You don’t think it’s coming from the Underworld?”
“I don’t know. There was veiling and a pentagram, so it’s got to be someone who knows their magics.”
Nina eyed me, the corner of her mouth turning up. “Pentagrams? How very every eighties horror movie. And any demon could learn to veil; it’s magic one-oh-one.”
“Can you?” I asked.
Nina looked away. “Any person could learn to do it, too.”
“Well, the veiling was one thing, but the rest…I’ve worked in the Underworld for a long time, Nina. I’ve worked with vampires, werewolves, even hobgoblins, and I’ve never even seen a hint of this kind of”—I shuddered again—“destruction.”
Nina raised a sculpted eyebrow.
“Not even from zombies,” I added. “Or ghouls.”
“Well,” Nina said, sitting forward, “remember when that Choas demon ate your goldfish? That was pretty destructive.”
“A Chaos demon ate your goldfish?” Vlad said. “Cool.”
“It was not cool,” I snapped. “He swallowed Tipsy whole. And the little plastic pirate ship she was hiding in.”