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The Scent of Shadows: The First Sign of the Zodiac by Vicki Pettersson
Review by Gayle Surrette
Avon Mass Market  ISBN/ITEM#: 0060898917
Date: 01 March, 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

What would you do if one day your life was turned upside down? If you found out that there was a battle between the light and the dark and that battle required your help? What if those superhero comics weren't just comics but reportage on the fight between light and dark? Could you cope? Would you check yourself into a mental health clinic and hope somehow they could save your mind? Joanna Archer is faced with just these facts along with her father disowning her, her sister being killed in front of her, and having an old flame walk into her life again. How she deals with this makes for an exciting adventure…

Joanna Archer is a photographer, not that she needs a job since she's one of The Archers of Las Vegas. Things start to spiral out of control when a blind date goes postal and tries to kill her. Luckily Joanna is well trained in martial arts and the police were looking for him anyway. Of course the officer in charge is Ben Traina, Joanna's high school sweetheart who she hasn't seen in years. But the sparks begin to fly between them, but Joanna's big date gets interrupted when she has to go visit Daddy (Xavier Archer) with her sister Olivia. Once that ordeal is over she can see Ben, but first must see her sister to collect a birthday gift. But Joanna's birthday isn't just a birthday celebrating a new year it's a night that will change her life completely. I can't say much more without spoiling the plot.

The main character Joanna Archer is well developed and has a rich background that can be mined for many more story lines. She's witty, intelligent, confident, and smart mouthed but she cares deeply for those she loves. I found the war between shadow and light and its interaction with our world to be well-thought out though there is a lot more I'd like to know about this universe. You don't have to think it's logical and possible to enjoy the story -- just go with it. Information dumps are minimal, you learn about the world as Joanna does so the information is in small chunks and within the story framework.

This is the first book in a new series and it looks like it has a lot of ways to go from here. Now, I'm looking forward to the next installment The Taste of Night.

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