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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson #7)

Frost Burned - Patricia Briggs

I was late to the Mercy-love, and was only convinced to try this series a few months ago.  I LOVE it when that happens, as it means that there are lots of delicious stories just waiting for me to gorge myself on.  And even though the series is darker than I usually like in my books, a bit more gory, a bit more creepy and violent, gorge is exactly what I did.  I totally fell for all the characters:  Mercy is someone I'd choose to be friends with - she's neither butch, nor victim, nor susie-mary-sunshine.  Adam, while not my personal type (Samuel comes closer) is a good mate for Mercy.  Stephan and his Scooby Van?  Priceless!


I held off ordering Frost Burned hoping that I could string out the reading to get me closer to the March release of the new book, but when push came to shove, I couldn't leave it any longer on the TBR pile.


I can't believe anyone interested in UF hasn't already read this book, but in the interests of thoroughness, Frost Burned starts with Mercy and her step daughter Jesse are in a car accident during a midnight shopping spree on Black Friday.  Calling for assistance, Mercy finds that everyone in the pack is missing: no one is answering their phones and a cryptic message from the Marrok indicates that phones are not safe to use.  Mercy needs to find her mate, find her pack and figure out who's behind the mass kidnapping and what they hope to accomplish.


It's obvious from my rating that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so when I say that I found the structure of the story to be a bit different, that's a good thing.  As many books as I read, I sometimes find myself a bit bored by the tried and true path most fiction takes: introduction, conflict revelation, build up of tension as the conflict is worked through, climax, and the wrap up.  It's a cross-genre structure and it works, but it adds a bit of predictability to any book, no matter the plot line.


So, when the book starts off with the pack's abduction, my first thought was "ok, I'm now going to read 20 chapters of Mercy searching for her mate and pack, fighting off random attacks from bad guys, going down blind alleys and chasing down false clues until she finally finds the pack and engages in a final battle to free them".  Hah!  Frost Burned surprised me - Ms. Briggs tweaked the formula; this is a book that has at least two sets of conflict/buildup/climax arcs, offering a story that is quick to action.  It felt like the book and plot were off and running well before I expected it to be, and what I though was the major plot point was resolved almost immediately, which means I was thoroughly sucked in because I wanted to know what was going on?!  It also means this was a very intricate, complex plot that left me in a completely different place at the end than I expected to find myself. 



Also, KUDOS! to Ms. Briggs for having Mercy contact the police and tell the truth about what was happening!  I love that she did not make the plot more convoluted or complicated than it had to be.  Bringing the goals of the kidnappers out in the open and publicly announcing them to the press is exactly what a very smart, very clever strategist would do and I just ate it all up like a custard donut!

(show spoiler)


Why not 5 star?  That last star was lost because as Machiavellian as the villain was in this book, I felt like a few things that were front and centre at the beginning of the book were lost at the end.  The plot was just a bit too twisty without a more thorough explanation of a few points at the end; I was left wanting at the wrap up stage.



There was a very, very big deal made for the first half of the book about the plotted assassination of the senator.  By the end it's completely dropped but I was left wondering:  what was Frost's purpose with the assassination?  Did he hope to accomplish something?  Was it all for show?  Was the assassination plot even real?  He was trying to take over all the vampires in the country the way the Marrok ran the weres, but how did kidnapping Adam and his pack further that aim?  Did it? or was it more smoke and mirrors and if so, why?  If all he wanted to do was leave Marsilla vulnerable, I have to say, it was all a bit overkill.

(show spoiler)


I'll wrap up by mentioning that Frost Burned picks up after Fair Game in the Alpha & Omega series, so if you're picking up Frost Burned but don't read A&O or aren't current, there are events mentioned and repercussions to live with, that won't be familiar to you.  It's not a show stopper, but I can see how it might leave people confused at the beginning.  If you haven't read the A&O series, it's a good read; not as good as Mercy IMO, but well worth it's place in the TBR pile.