Precinct 13
By Tate Hallaway
ISBN# 0425247791
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Verushka

Precinct 13 begins with an introduction to Alex, the new coroner in Pierre. She entered the election for coroner on a bet, and cruised to a win because the former coroner was corrupt, among other things.

She expects an easy gig, and if she’s lucky a year without having to deal with any inhabitants in her morgue—yes Pierre is that small, and quiet. Which is exactly what Alex needed after fleeing Chicago and her past there, including a demon step-mother.

Yup, a real demon.

But it doesn’t remain that way, not when two cops walk into her morgue with a body and a warning not to crack his chest. How’s a coroner supposed to do an autopsy without cracking a chest? Answer, she can’t and with that comes Alex’s introduction into the magical world at Pierre, including a half-fairy prince, a Golem and a technomage who are all yup, cops and part of Precinct 13.

What is unusual in this book – or maybe I’ve not been reading the right books – is that the normal world of Pierre to some extent knows of the magical world; in fact the Chief of Police directs her to Precinct 13 when her first dead body gets up and walks out of her morgue and leaves a bit of himself attached to Alex. With that Alex comes into her own power, and we’re introduced to her background, and the very complicated, but relatable way as to why her powers are coming to the fore now.

Remember how I said she’s introduced to the magical world in Pierre?  Well, they are introduced to her and her magic and Valentine, which as much as I have problems with his characterization, who he is in the book, is an inspired and imaginative addition.

Now more on characterization! Alex is young, and it it shows in her dialogue which is peppered with contemporary pop culture references that cracked me up and made me admire the skill with which Hallaway naturally introduced them into the story. But he makes her so incredibly relatable that she is a joy to read. She has her demons – literally – and the repercussions of her past affect her present and her initial introduction to magic. I think that’s what sealed is for me – yes, this was about magic, but Alex showed a vulnerability that I could understand, but better than that, as the book progressed, so did she. Growing past her hesitance and reaching a determination to solve the case.

Through her we are introduced to the rest of the gang at the Precinct and I am hesitant to give too much away because it’s just that good venturing into the Precinct and the characters there. They are all distinct, well-developed characters with histories, and predjuices. Hallaway has drawn wonderful secondary characters, that are easy to care about.

Then there’s Valentine. He plays an integral part of Alex’s life and I won’t give away his purpose in the book, but I will say this: tall, dark and handsome and mysterious has a place in a story, but I have to wonder at the purpose of a relationship that can go nowhere. I like messy, complicated relationships in novels like these, and there is the briefest possibility of that for Alex before Valentine appears, but it’s quickly quashed when he does appear. Alex, by her own admission, knows Valentine will never care for her the way she cares for him, which left me wondering – if it is in the nature of a character not to be emotional, how am I as a reader supposed to get invested in him? Will he mysteriously change his nature by the power of Alex’s love? I hope not, it’s far too interesting a story for something as clichéd as that.

Ultimately, Valentine is muscle in this first book, and not much else. Perhaps this is because it’s the first book in a series? I’m not sure, but I can see myself skipping his fairly predictable scenes in the book, if he cannot develop further with Alex and away from her as a character on his own.

So, that’s Precinct 13 – it’s totally worth your time to pay it a visit!