Series: Transplanted Tales #1
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Kensington on 2 August 2012
I’m an absolute sucker for stories of transplanted literary characters. I devoured Kristine Grayson’s Fates series and both of Jasper Fforde’s series – Thursday Next and Nursery Crimes. When I read the blurb for Red, I knew I was in for a treat. While this book can be defined as a paranormal romance, it has a strong mystery element. Put simply, this is the story of Tess Little, otherwise known as Red and her partnership with Death.
Let me set the scene for you; two very powerful magical beings decide to duke it out with magic to see who is the strongest. A miscast spell transports a number of magical characters from Make Believe into Here and Now. Some characters were able to assimilate but others decided to exploit the situation and those around them. The characters have a choice whether to break their stereotyping and their choices might just surprise you. Enter the Fairytale Management Authority (FMA) which polices the less desirable elements. One of their best Enforcers is Tess Little aka Red. She’s lost the red hood, gained a gun and become one bad-ass chick. Someone has been murdering fictional characters in a very nasty way. Unfortunately every single one of the suspects just happen to be her ex – Seth Wolf, Vlad and Todd Caliban. These are seriously screwed up men but in Tess’ eyes they have been badly maligned. Throw in a very hot detective, Nate Grimm (who just happens to be Death and a great cook), and you’re in for a fun ride.
Tess is a fantastic multi-faceted character. She is strong and fiercely independent but when it comes to relationships, she is still that scared little girl in the forest trying to find her way. Her real story is not quite how it was presented in fairy-tales and she has a massive chip on her shoulder from it. It makes it hard for her to trust Nate and their romance literally inches along. Nate by the way rocks a 1940s noir look which is how I have always pictured Death, debonair but dangerous. His story is fairly tragic and quite unexpected even though it is fairly easy to see that he carries a torch for Tess. The secondary characters will be familiar to you and their new professions make a lot of sense – Snow White is now a madam at a brothel and the Pied Piper is a pest exterminator. I won’t spoil the others as they are a treat worth uncovering yourself. SeRine has to be careful she doesn’t introduce too many fairy-tale characters though as I found my attention wandering a bit trying to work out how they had ended up where they were.
The plot moves along fairly quickly and I appreciated that Tess used detecting skills such as interviewing her snitches, getting DNA analysed etc. rather than magically identifying the perp. The humour is snarky and well-timed which was just icing on the cake.
Red is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that sucks you in and won’t let you go until the last page. I read it and then a few weeks later re-read it to see if it still had the magic I thought it did. I wasn’t disappointed.