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Review: The Grendel Affair – Lisa Shearin (2013, urban fantasy, SPI Files 1)

Review: The Grendel Affair – Lisa Shearin (2013, urban fantasy, SPI Files 1)Author: Lisa Shearin
Title: The Grendel Affair
Series: SPI Files #1
Publisher: ACE
Pages: 292
Release Date: December 31, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy

We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us…

When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out—usually saving my skin in the process.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.
Format: Paperback
Also by this author: The Dragon Conspiracy, The Brimstone Deception, The Ghoul Vendetta
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*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

THE GRENDEL AFFAIR is the first book in the SPI Files series by Lisa Shearin. 

This was my first time reading a book by Lisa Shearin, and I was very pleased with her writing style and creativity.

The story is about Makeena (Mac), a “seer” who can see through glamours to identify supernaturals. This makes her valuable to her new employer, Supernatural Protection & Investigations. Her partner, Ian, is a sexy badass. They have to investigate the murder of a man who happened to have Mac’s picture with him when he died. Soon, they learn that someone has brought two grendels to New York City, with the intention of killing people and exposing monsters.

I like Makeena a lot. She’s a newbie, with no combat skills or magic at her disposal. Her methods for fighting are unconventional and, at times, hilarious. Some her personal thoughts are very funny, too. Also, she has a thing for cookies–a little detail that made her more human.

Ian didn’t appeal to me as much as Mac did as a character. He was sexy, for sure, but blah in terms of personality. He’s the typical tough guy. I hope he develops some chinks in his armor. The author did give him some baggage near the end of the book, but not enough to make me feel like he had a personality.

I also didn’t like how he came to Mac’s rescue so frequently. I know it was his job as her partner, but I would have liked for Mac to have resolved more problems on her own. Thankfully, he is absent at the end, and other characters have to come to the rescue.

The world was developed enough for me to understand, but the author didn’t spend much time on setting or worldbuilding. It wasn’t clear how the supernaturals got here in the first place. It seemed to me that the reader was being asked to accept they were just there and the humans were clueless of it, without much explanation for why the world is the way it is. That’s alright, though, because the humor and action make up for the lack of worldbuilding.

If you like stories with a variety of supernatural creatures (dopplegangers, vampires, werewolves, ghouls, grendels, etc.), murder, kidnapping, and saving the world, you should read THE GRENDEL AFFAIR if you haven’t already. I enjoyed reading it a lot. I agree with others who have said Mac is like Stephanie Plum of Janet Evanovich’s books. She is new at her job, lacks the skills to do it effectively, and fumbles through it somehow.

I give THE GRENDEL AFFAIR five stars for the quick pace, thrilling action and danger, and an endearing main character. I look forward to reading more books in the SPI Files series.






About Lisa Shearin

Lisa Shearin is the New York Times bestselling author of the Raine Benares novels, a comedic fantasy adventure series, as well as the SPI Files novels (The Brimstone Deception, The Dragon Conspiracy, The

Grendel Affair), an urban fantasy series best described as Men in Black with supernaturals instead of aliens. Lisa is a voracious collector of fountain pens, teapots, and teacups, both vintage and modern. She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her husband, three spoiled-rotten retired racing greyhounds, and enough deer and woodland creatures to fill a Disney movie.

(photo from Goodreads)


Jen Schaper
I am a mom of three kids, a wife, and a wannabe author. For Books That Hook, I review books, create features and discussions, design the website, and do all the administrative stuff.

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