Review of PHOENIX UNRISEN by Kathleen Nance (see her website)
Love Spell, October 2007
Natalie Severin works as a reporter for the tabloids but spends her time and money searching for her brother. He vanished in the fire that killed her estranged husband, but Natalie knows he is no killer. With no real clues to go on, she's saving her money for a trip to Tibet where, at least some rumors claim, her twin brother was sighted.
Ramses (Ram) Montgomery lost his powers but he's still fighting evil. When he tracks down the man who kidnapped and tortured his dog, he fears he was too late. The dog is badly injured. Somehow, though, Natalie's touch reawakens the magical powers Ram was certain he had lost forever. Unfortunately, Natalie's bad experiences with magic make her certain Ram is a danger to her--even if they share a concern for smuggled birds.
When Natalie steals a phone from the dog torturers and hears her brother's recorded message, she knows that there are layers to the danger she has only begun to explore. Ram, on the other hand, fears the explanation is all too simple. Natalie's brother may just be behind the crimes afflicting New Orleans.
Author Kathleen Nance writes an evocative and sensual story of magic in a New Orleans struggling to recover from the physical and psychological damage of Hurricane Katrina. The sexual attraction between Ram and Natalie sizzles and Nance keeps the danger cranked up to full.
Nance's writing keeps the reader involved in the story and turning the pages. For me, however, this story relies on far too many coincidences. Ram and his dog happening along at the right time (why, exactly was his dog stolen?), the coincidence of Natalie having been injured by magic but falling for a magical man, the coincidence of snatching a phone that just happened to have her brother's number in speed dial, the coincidence of recognizing the phoenix shape from her brother's bar, and then there's the ivory billed woodpecker that happens to live in her back yard. The story is enjoyable, but I every time I ran into another of these coincidences, I was yanked out of the story.
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