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Divine Misdemeanors: Meredith Gentry, Book 8    by Laurell K. Hamilton order for
Divine Misdemeanors
by Laurell K. Hamilton
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Divine Misdemeanors is the eighth book (following Swallowing Darkness) in Laurell K. Hamilton's erotic fantasy series starring Meredith Gentry. At this stage in her adventures, Merry (aka Princess Meredith Nic Essus of Faerie) is pregnant with twins by several (don't ask how, just read the earlier adventures) of her retinue of handsome Sidhe lords. She has defeated her vicious cousin, Prince Cel, renounced her claims to two thrones, and returned to her series roots, working at the Grey Detective Agency: Supernatural Problems; Magical Solutions in Los Angeles. Merry has also been tasked by the Goddess to pass on some of Her magic to mortals.

As the story opens, Merry is called to the scene of a mass murder of demi-fey, 'the essence of faerie'. Afterwards she and her companions meet with Bittersweet, a half-mad survivor of the attack, and with Gilda, the insecure Fairy Godmother, who feels threatened by Merry's presence in LA, where she previously held court. They are continually hounded by media. There are further, horrific slayings and Merry is determined to find and stop those responsible, individuals who are harvesting the dead to increase their own magical powers. The puzzle is a good one, culminating in our heroine's walking into a trap to save a friend.

Aside from the mystery that PI Merry solves, the author weaves several story threads into new patterns, which readers will see more of in further episodes. As usual, Merry's energetic and imaginative sexual encounters bear more fruit than her pregnancies, this time creating a hollow hill in LA and making Rhys a lesser faerie king. We wonder why has the Goddess given human soldiers (through Meredith) the ability to heal and why is sidhe magic growing stronger outside faerie? Also Barinthus, his power growing through proximity to the ocean, is questioning Merry's decisions and her rule - how will this be resolved?

This addictive series has me thoroughly hooked, but I was glad of the change of pace occasioned by its heroine's return to LA and to solving magical crimes there. As Meredith concludes at the end of Divine Misdemeanors, 'We're still supposed to be magic, and help the people around us see that they're magic, too; it's just a different kind of magic.' I look forward to seeing what new magics transpire next.

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