Ashes & Arsenic (Preternatural Affairs #6) by S.M. Reine

AshesAndArsenicAgent Cèsar Hawke is in his element when he’s investigating magical crime. And with his boss out of town, Cèsar gets to pick which cases he works on. He’s bent on doing nothing involving demons, zombies, or fallen angels this time. Instead, he’s going to find the witch who used magic to rob a bank.

Easy stuff. Cèsar plans to catch the perp before his boss gets home.

But when he digs into the robbery, he finds much more than missing money. He also finds a deadly turf battle between two covens and a trail of bloody violence.

A trail that leads directly to his brother, Domingo Hawke.

Domingo wants Cèsar’s help taking down his enemies. Forget that Cèsar works for the Office of Preternatural Affairs, forget allegiances, forget pesky “contracts” and “conduct.” Domingo is calling in a favor and the Hawke family is too tight to refuse.

Blood is the most powerful ingredient in any witch’s spell, after all.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Out of all the characters that S.M. Reine has created (I still have a couple more to meet as I continue the Descent series) Cèsar is one of my favorites. I love his ‘voice.’ He has a strong sense of right and wrong and an even stronger sense of loyalty. In other words, he’s not afraid to bend the rules if someone he cares about is in danger. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and he pretty much knows his limits. All of this combined is enough to love him as a character, but I think it’s his snarky, witty personality that I love most…

“I haven’t been this serious about anything since I thought Jennifer Henry gave me herpes in sophomore year of high school.” She hadn’t, for the record. I’d just gotten intimate with poison ivy on a comping trip. But that was a story for another time.

His inner dialogues are even better. 😉

Just because Cèsar’s character is on the ‘light’ side compared to S.M. Reine’s other characters doesn’t mean that he finds himself in less dangerous situations. He’s fighting the same battles, in the same world. He just handles things in a different way.

Ashes and Arsenic brought the danger to his doorstep in a very personal way. It also took a lot of twists and turns. I spent as much time as Cèsar both sympathizing with and not trusting Domingo. By the end I still wasn’t sure. I have a feeling that if S.M. Reine ever decides to put the entire Hawke family in one book, the results will be explosive… and I’m not just talking emotionally.

There was a lot going on in Ashes and Arsenic and there were as many questions raised as answered. It was kind of hard to keep track of who was on which ‘team.’ There are a few characters that I’m still not sure about. In this world, there’s definitely a fine line between good and evil. Regardless, it looks like things are going to get quite interesting for Cèsar. Ashes and Arsenic didn’t necessarily end in a cliff hanger, but it did end with this reader wanting answers. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for these characters next.



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