What I’ve been reading – ‘Hollow’ by Patricia Briggs

This is the tenth story in the ‘Shifting Shadows’ collection, and it’s a ghost story – always my fave!  It’s also a Mercyverse story featuring Mercy herself, which marks it as a special occasion for any Briggs fan.  Here, Mercy takes submissive pack wolf Zack along with her on a ghost-hunt, also a treat because Zack is a complete sweetie.

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image – Conejo Conejo https://www.flickr.com/photos/findingalice/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/, no changes

The ‘guests’ – i.e. characters new to the Mercyverse – in this story are Lisa, a woman who runs a groundskeeping/housekeeping company, and Rick, one of her rich and reclusive clients.  Rick is having trouble with the ghost of his dead wife, and Lisa is having trouble because, SPOILERS –– well, she’s in love with Rick.  And, dead or not, that makes his wife a problem.

Rick and Lisa are super-hot together – pining and unrequited/suddenly requited love is a fun read.  And short but confident guys…  well, there’s something about them.  Fictional ones, anyhow.  The ‘baddie’ is complex and convincing, and really…

The only problem is the fight scene, late in the story.

Oh dear, Briggs seems to have problems with fight scenes.  Slow!  Ludicrous incidents!  Unlikely fortunate chains of events!  Continuous, minutely rendered cogitation and narration!  And relentlessly ‘badass’ Mercy, of course.  Who frankly, has to be a little challenged, considering the gusto with which she repeatedly plunges into highly dangerous situations.  Maybe it’s all the bangs on the head she’s received in multiple car accidents, assaults and paranormal encounters.

After the experiences she’s had, anyone with a lick of sense, confronted with a violent ghost, would be running for the hills, in coyote form or human.  But Mercy runs in the wrong direction, of course…

It’s a (fairly) minor quibble.  (Although Briggs needs to read some writers who really know what they’re doing with a fight scene.  I suggest Bobby Adair’s ‘Black Virus’ as a good place to begin.)

Overall it’s a cracking supernatural tale, with a hot central couple, and a little Mercy Thompson thrown in.  Who could possibly complain?  Not me/nom nom nom nom nom…

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