Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: The Taken by Vicki Pettersson (Celestial Blues # 1)

The Taken is the story about two very unusual characters in Griffin Shaw and Katherine "Kit" Craig who are thrown together in order to solve a prostitution ring and the death of Kit's best friend. While Griffin is a Centurion who assists the recently, and violently deceased into the Everlast, Kit is a stout reporter who wears fashions straight out of the 1950's and has no reservation or hesitation about going after a story full throttle.

Griffin is a former P.I. who was himself the victim of murder that has never been solved. He's been a Centurion for five decades helping the recently murdered find their way. Griffin can also see when death it's coming yet sometimes he absolutely misses the signs, and makes some really bad choices which leads to his desire to protect Kit at all costs; something that his bosses aren't too thrilled about. Griffin is also obsessed with finding out who killed his wife Evelyn Shaw. Griffin is very blunt, pragmatic, a chain smoker, still dresses in the clothes and hairstyle that he died in, and has no desire to listen to those who demanded that he fix a problem that he created after he helped Kit's best friend Nicole. This in turn leads to him being sent back to earth in human form.

Kit Craig is one of those characters that my mother would like. She wears June Cleaver style dresses, a Bettie Paige hair style, and Rita Hayworth face paint straight out of the 1950's. She considers the Rockabilly lifestyle to be a calling rather than a choice and doesn't really care what anyone else thinks about her or her Pretty Kitty Posse friends. She's an hardened reporter who, along with Nicole, was trying to break an alleged brothel operation that ends up with Nicole dead and the arrival of Griffin as Kit's self proclaimed protector. When she meets Griffin, he truly believes that she's flighty, stubborn, surly, and impossibly cheerful. He also believes that she talks too much, and has a cavalier attitude about her own safety. Yet, there is definitely a connection between the two that leads to a not to surprising romance as well as a surprise twist to the story.

I have always liked Las Vegas as a setting for Pettersson's stories. It is obvious as the nose on your face that she has an intimate knowledge of the town and the shadier dealings of what happens on the strip which makes the stories even more realistic. The Taken has the feel of being a film noir mystery with a bit of the paranormal thrown in which I actually liked. This being the first book in the new Celestial Blues series leaves a few questions left unanswered but that is alright as long as they end up being wrapped up before the series itself runs out. The most obvious question is what really happened to Griffin's wife, and why were they both murdered at the same time?

I think that certain readers will have issues with the religious aspects of The Taken and the demonization of a certain faith, which coincidentally, came at the height of the 2012 Presidential Election. Not sure if that was on purpose, or just a coincidence by the author and the publisher. The villain, also part of this religious faith, is definitely not a very nice or likable guy and I felt the urge to jump for joy when he was finally brought to justice. The subject of young girls being forced into prostitution while the church basically looked the other way, is also a dark and brutal subject matter to deal with. In real life, child prostitution is all too often shoved under the rug because of corruption by those who are supposed to protect the innocent while allowing the guilty to walk away free.

Next up: The Lost (Celestial Blues # 2)

Title - The Taken (Celestial Blues # 1)
Author - Vicki Pettersson
Publisher - Harper Voyager
Released - June 12, 2012
Genre - Urban Fantasy


  1. Oh I need to read this one now! I even have it, just need more time lol. I'm glad you liked it, now I'm sure it will be the case for me too!

  2. Nice review! I still have to read this one as well! Bought it at release time last year along with buying the newest one this year, but I have yet to start the series! Too many books and too little time is the motto of my life these days!