2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

Book Review: Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

“His mind felt full of shattered ice and quicksand, all sharp edges and dull helpless sliding at once, poisoned with blue, drunk with it.”

This was a cool find, and not quite what I expected.

Dr. Greta Helsing (the family dropped the “van”) is in the family business. She serves as the go-to medical practitioner for the Things That Go Bump In The Night – she takes care of them and they, in turn, as we learn as the story develops, more than take care of her in return… When a new, unidentified, source starts attacking London’s TTGBITN, Dr. Helsing quickly steps in, hunting the hunters who are hunting her and her friends… Sound confusing? It’s really not – and the story development and cast of characters are more than original enough to keep you entertained, curious, and in suspense throughout the book.

Both Greta and her “monsters” are more human than you might expect in a book about supernatural characters. Their foibles and quirks are endearing and make them eminently relatable. From the blurb and the opening pages, I rather expected Greta to be much more stiff-upper-lipped than she turned out to be. I was pleased to be surprised in this regard; I often think that protagonists are a little too perfectly prepared for what comes their way in supernatural stories – or at least too perfectly, unflappably, adaptable. Real life is messy and off-kilter and throws even the most stoic for a loop now and then – it was a refreshing delight to see protagonists be similarly situated, especially because they persevered nevertheless. It made the story more interesting and the characters much more believable.

Add on to that a delightful story-telling style and original voice, and you have a recipe for success in my book! There were teasers in the text suggesting more adventures for the indomitable Dr. Greta, and a preview of the next installment was provided – I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what she and her fascinating team of compatriots stumble up against next…

“Is it really over, do you think?”
Ruthven looked bleak for a moment, and then his smile came back, wry now, a little crooked. “No. It’s never going to be *really* over; as long as we exist, there will be people determined to try to remedy that condition. But this part of it is done with.”

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