by Laura Bickle
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release: August 31, 2011
Genre: Fiction- Adult: Paranormal, urban fantasy
WITHOUT A TRACE...
Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.
After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.
Review: This is the sequel to Ember.
Quick recap Anya is a lantern which is a medium who can absorb spirits. She's a fire investigator and helps out DAGR a ghost hunting operation. Her familiar Sparky is a fire elemental called a salamander.
Anya is called into investigating a strange case of what looks like spontaneous human combustion. As she digs into the case it leads her to some unusual connections. Not only does she needs to solve this case, but Sparky becoming a Dad (Mom? Apparently salamanders can do the asexual reproductive thing.) Which leaves Anya in a peculiar situation, she now has to take care of 51 salamander eggs while working. Note: Her and Katie's trip to the baby store was hilarious.
This book had much more ghosts interaction than the first one, which was neat taking a look at ghost having their own parallel plane. I found this interesting and a unique take on ghosts and their world. A really good read that sucked me in (pun intended). I did have a few issues- I felt the ending was a bit anticlimactic, but you should probably be the judge since I don't want to give any spoilers. Also Ms Bickle left us with some unanswered questions perhaps she plans on a book 3 and was leaving it open. Yet I felt slightly cheated. I don't like loose ends and there were still a few at the end, again perhaps if there is a book 3 they'll be tied up.
I enjoyed the characters, and story, just wish it had a neater ending.