*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, and Louise Walters of Louise Walters Books. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Yannia Wilde returns to the Wild Folk conclave where she grew up, and to the deathbed of her father, the conclave’s Elderman. She is soon drawn back into the Wild Folk way of life and into a turbulent relationship with Dearon, to whom she is betrothed.
Back in London, unassuming office worker Tim Wedgebury is surprised when police appear on his doorstep with a story about how he was stabbed in the West End. His body disappeared before the paramedics’ eyes. Given that Tim is alive and well, the police chalk the first death up to a Mage prank. But when Tim “dies” a second time, Detective Inspector Jamie Manning calls Yannia and, torn between returning to the life she has built in Old London and remaining loyal to the conclave and to Dearon, she strikes a compromise with the Elderman that allows her to return temporarily to the city.
There she sets about solving the mystery of Tim’s many deaths with the help of her apprentice, Karrion. They come to realise that with every death, more of the echo becomes reality, and Yannia and Karrion find themselves in increasing danger as they try to save Tim. Who is the echo murderer? What sinister game are they playing? And what do they truly want?
Another superb read from Laura Laakso: the Wilde Investigations series is right at the top of my personal favourites! The plot here does mostly stand alone but I sincerely recommend reading the series in order for the full picture of Yannia’s development: professional and personal.
Yannia is back, and she and the plot are both torn in two; split between the life she has made for herself independently, doing what she loves with people who care about her; and her responsibilities to her family and her betrothed, back in the place that nourishes her magic.
There is a neat mirroring between the two plot strands and the case that Yannia and Karion are investigating featuring an ordinary young man who keeps dying, disappearing and then apparently resurrecting with no memory of the fatal events. But how could someone have it in for the pleasant and inoffensive Tim? And why is the magic unidentifiable?
The old familiar faces are here: Karrion and Yannia, obviously; Jamie; Lady Bergamon and Wishearth. We also meet some newer characters in Dearon, Ollie and the Elderman – leader of the Wild conclave and one of the reasons Yannia left for Old London in the first place. It is clear that Yannia will have to choose which path she will follow: the forest track or the city streets, but there are fantastic characters and plot potentials whichever way her heart leads her.
I absolutely love the world Laakso has created in these books, and the magic use and murder mysteries and cleverly written and consistently intriguing. I am so excited to find out what happens next, and wholeheartedly recommend these books to anyone fond of urban fantasies, PI mysteries and just all-round damn good stories!
‘Tell me your curious tale,’ I say while studying Tim.
He is tall and lanky, dressed in a suit that looks to be off the rack, but not cheap. His dark brown hair is cut short, functional rather than fashionable. Brown eyes watching me are cautious and there are dark circles under them. He is tired and sceptical. Where did Wishearth find him?
‘Someone has killed me twice,’ Tim says.
– Laura Laakso, Echo Murder