Three of Swords by Theo Fenraven
Title: Three of Swords
Author: Theo Fenraven
Publisher: Voodoo Lily Press, September 2012
Blurb: An old houseboat, a hot young guy, a couple of murders, and more mysterious keys than you can shake a stick at: this is what awaits Gray Vecello after his grandfather, Graham, is killed on his way to pick up high blood pressure pills.
A letter Graham left behind sends Gray and his unexpected ally, Cooper Key, on a journey downriver in an attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding an unknown treasure. On the way, they encounter both friends and enemies, one of whom will target Gray and Cooper for death. One thing working in Gray’s favor: he has the sight, just as Graham had, but will it be enough to save them both?
First book of the Precog in Peril series.
Review: This book started out fast and got faster, slingshot-ing (yes it is too a word) me from beginning to end. The story itself is minimalist, which is to say it didn’t get bogged down in a bunch of meta navel gazing, but there was plenty of action, introspection, and plain character chemistry to propel it along. Normally, I like to know more of what a character is feeling, but the lack of overwrought emotion in Three of Swords didn’t prevent me from seeing how the characters were feeling or reacting to the events of the plot. It allowed me to see only the pertinent emotions, leaving me a clear impression of where the characters were throughout their journey.
Gray Vecello is a man after my own heart, a bit of a sarcastic shit with a deep caring streak and a moral responsibility he’d very much like to ignore. He expects people to be good, and it bothers him when they’re not, but he’s not deluded into thinking everyone is an angel.
Cooper Key is a pretty young thing, barely an adult, with a past that would wreck most people but for him, it’s just made him sweeter. He knows the bullshit people are capable of and still doesn’t project those flaws onto new people he meets. He still exhibits a vulnerability that speaks to the good-hearted. Was I surprised Gray fell for him? Hell no! I mean, I fell for him, though unfortunately I’m not his type.
I’m a sucker for stories about magic or special abilities. I loved Heroes. I have all the Harry Potters both in book and movie form, though it’s a different kind of magic we’re talking about here, and usually something paranormal will catch my attention faster than a big angsty dramafest of relationship boohoo-ing. With the opening hook of Three of Swords, I had to see what would happen. Gray knew his grandfather Graham was going to die? How?
And from that one question, a series of events unfolded to take me on a fast paced trip up the Mississippi river. Gray could see the future, but he didn’t like to look, and so his knowledge of what happened to his grandfather is limited. In a letter Graham left behind, Gray found an unexpected kindred spirit, completely different from the man he knew as a kid, and someone who understood Gray far better than he ever imagined. But he also realized there was more to Graham’s murder than a simple robbery-gone-bad, and if he didn’t find out what he could, he and his new friend Cooper could be in danger.
One step at a time, the pair were drawn into the mystery of the Tarot, Gray’s ability, the discovery that Cooper wasn’t without his own psychic resonance, and the fact that their abilities made them very valuable to people who didn’t necessarily care about their safety, as long as they could provide answers to important questions.
Like where was Graham’s treasure?
Who else knew Gray was a precog?
Was the person sniffing around responsible for Graham’s death?
Who could they trust?
It was a puzzle, one that was very adroitly pieced together as the story unfolded. Who are the SOS (or Society of Snoops)? What did they want with people who have abilities? What abilities did they have themselves? Were they responsible for Graham’s death? Do they know about Gray and his precognition?
As any good first book of a series does, this one opened up the possibility of more mystery even as the original one was solved. I, for one, want these other questions answered as well.
Fair warning: the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, though not one that leaves Three of Swords unsatisfying. An extremely solid B List. I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for the release of the second book.