Review – Iron & Velvet (Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator # 1)

Iron & Velvet


from the publisher:

Previously published; newly refreshed by the author

I like my women like I like my whiskey: more than is good for me.

Name’s Kane, Kate Kane. I’m a paranormal private investigator, which is like a normal private investigator except—and stop me if you’re having trouble following this—more paranormal. This business comes with a few basic rules: don’t start drinking before noon, don’t get your partner killed, don’t sleep with the woman who killed him.

Last year I broke all of them.

The only rule I didn’t break was the one that said don’t work for vampires. But then a dead werewolf showed up outside the Soho shag palace of Julian Saint-Germain—a bloodsucking flibbertigibbet who’s spent the last eight centuries presiding over an ever-growing empire of booze, sex and hemoglobin.

I shouldn’t have taken the job. The last thing I needed was to get caught in a supernatural smackdown between a werewolf pack and a vampire prince. Even if the vampire prince was dangerously my type. But what can I say? I was broke, I’m a sucker for a pretty face and I gave up on making good decisions a long time ago.

This is my first foray into the Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator series, which is being re-released through Carina Press, with the second and third books slated for release in December and February, respectively.

Kate Kane is a heavy drinking, hygiene shy, part fairy paranormal investigator who’s recently been left by her ex-girlfriend for a startup and still grieves the death of her partner who was killed by said ex-girlfirend (Did you get all that?). She’s hired by a super-sexy vampire to solve a mystery which grows ever more complex as her investigation continues. Any number of supernatural creatures with a million and one motives could be behind the crime (and a subsequent attack), which only makes her job that much more difficult. Most of the novel is taken up with her following leads that end nowhere, while she stumbles into one adventure after another.


As a huge fan of the author’s writing, I went into this book with a certain set of expectations. Having devoured the Spires series, the Arden St. Ives series and then The Affair of the Mysterious Letter, I had another kind of prose in mind and found myself having to restart this book a few times before I could really settle into it. The book itself is excellent – well written, funny and subtly drawn characters, a (well-populated) array of interesting secondary characters, and a plot that, as far as mysteries go, keeps you engaged. There are also a ton of references to other books and films, which makes me think the author is poking fun or paying homage to some of these things.

The style simply wasn’t what I was expecting.

Upon reflection, of course, this makes sense. Kate’s not exactly a metaphorical thinker. She is intelligent and observant but she’s very rooted in facts, like any good investigator is. Even when she is flooded with her own supernatural power (she is the daughter of a powerful Fairy Queen), she is direct in expressing her thoughts. In this, the writing does exactly what it should do. Kate is a consistent character and the writing reflects her personality. The moments where the author’s natural exuberance and delight for language burst through are actually jarring, not because the words aren’t beautiful in themselves, but because they arrive in contrast to a character who is not given to waxing poetic on anything, not even her incredibly powerful and sexually alluring girlfriend. Where such descriptions would be the nuggets I would search for in other books, here they are out of place.

So, if you go in expecting Glitterland, you’re not going to get it. Kate isn’t Ash – she has her own personality that has little time for such verbal acrobatics. However, if you like strong, complex characters who kicks ass and prefers to meet the world directly, without any filters or obfuscation, then Kate Kane is the investigator for you.

I received this ARC from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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