NOTE: This review is for a book with mature content and sexy times!
Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett is the second novel in the Roaring Twenties series, and like book one, it takes place in San Francisco at the end of the 1920s. Also like book one, it is full of fabulous Roaring Twenties essence with a dose of the paranormal. In this story, Lowe Magnusson, a treasure hunter with a tall tale for every scenario, and Hadley Bacall, a high-society museum curator, work together on a local hunt for Ancient Egyptian artifacts. This can safely be read as a standalone book since there is not a lot of essential character overlap, but if you like the setting, read Bitter Spirits, too!
I really enjoyed this book. Just like the first, the setting was wonderfully entertaining, and the addition of artifacts and curses added to the decadent tone. It is full of macabre humor, as Hadley and Lowe are tracking down items hidden in urns, and Hadley herself is a bit of a dark character with a career specializing in the funereal side of Ancient Egyptian culture. I loved the dry sense of humor and occasional mummy jokes.
“Yes, well, nothing lasts forever.” Her hand patted the space where the flower had been. “Unless it’s been properly preserved, of course.”
Hadley and Lowe are great characters. Lowe is a bit like Indiana Jones, if Indiana Jones were a compulsive liar and flirt. Hadley is incredibly intelligent and clever, and has spent most of her life avoiding people due to her solitary upbringing and the “curse” she inherited from her mother.
“Don’t flatter yourself. I’m not some chaste girl without worldly experience.” Oh, really? Definitely intrigued. Lowe was rather fond of Unchaste Women with Worldy Experience.
I loved their interactions and how their relationship grew from a shaky, distrustful gentlemen’s agreement to something much stronger.
Given the almost farcical tangle that Lowe wove himself into throughout the novel, I was dying to know how everything would come together in the end. Everything did, of course, but a lot of it was glossed over, and I would have liked to read about more of the damage control from Lowe’s point of view.
Overall, this was a really enjoyable read that made me want to move on to book three, Grave Phantoms, which tells Astrid and Bo’s story.