Gift Guide

Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon Series #1)

( 44 )


Read Ann Aguirre's posts on the Penguin Blog

“Gritty, steamy and altogether wonderful urban fantasy.”—New York Times Bestselling Author Patricia Briggs

View our feature on Ann Aguirre’s Blue Diablo.

"Right now, I’m a redhead. I’ve been blonde and brunette as the situation requires, though an unscheduled color change usually means relocating in the middle of the night. So far, I’m doing well here. Nobody knows ...

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Read Ann Aguirre's posts on the Penguin Blog

“Gritty, steamy and altogether wonderful urban fantasy.”—New York Times Bestselling Author Patricia Briggs

View our feature on Ann Aguirre’s Blue Diablo.

"Right now, I’m a redhead. I’ve been blonde and brunette as the situation requires, though an unscheduled color change usually means relocating in the middle of the night. So far, I’m doing well here. Nobody knows what I’m running from. And I’d like to keep it that way…"

Eighteen months ago, Corine Solomon crossed the border and wound up in Mexico City, fleeing her past, her lover, and her “gift”. Corine, a handler, can touch something and know its history—and sometimes, its future. Using her ability, she can find the missing—and that’s why people never stop trying to find her. People like her ex, Chance…

Chance, whose uncanny luck has led him to her doorstep, needs her help. Someone dear to them both has gone missing in Laredo, Texas, and the only hope of finding her is through Corine’s gift. But their search may prove dangerous as the trail leads them into a strange dark world of demons and sorcerers, ghosts and witchcraft, zombies—and black magic…

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Other women change their hair color on a whim or to impress a new boyfriend; Corinne Solomon dyes hers because she's running scared. She's a handler, a paranormal who can touch something and almost instantly know its history and, if she's lucky (or unlucky) its future, too. Now hiding out in Mexico, she wants to keep a low profile, but when people come begging for her help, she can't refuse, although she knows that she should know better….
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451462640
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/7/2009
  • Series: Corine Solomon Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 730,151
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

In her life, Ann Aguirre has been a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband and two adorable children who sometimes do as they are told.

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Read an Excerpt

Chance Met

Right now, I'm a redhead.

I've been blond and brunette as the situation requires, though an unscheduled color change usually means I need to relocate in the middle of the night or face people burning crosses on my lawn. I've set a new record, going on eighteen months in the same city. No consequences, no demonstrations, and for the last year, I've been a respectable business owner to boot. Maybe I should knock wood.

So I do.

But right now, a redhead. I tell myself it goes with the blue eyes, even if my skin is a little too olive for the carpet to match the drapes. And sure, I get a few looks because it's a true red, Garnier Nutrisse 46R to be exact, not the plum that most women here favor, but I may as well please myself because I will never, ever blend in entirely. The best I can do is to make sure nobody reckons me any crazier than anyone else.

Around here they call me la Americana loca, but I figure it's affectionate, as it doesn't stop them from coming to my shop. Unlike many of the open-air tiendas, I have a front door and a bell that chimes softly when anyone enters my domain, a dim and shady store piled high with junk or treasure, depending on your definition. I have handmade pots and broken radios, alleged religious artifacts and rare books in sixteen languages.

A ceiling fan stirs sluggishly overhead, but it never gets hot inside. The buildings are heavy, solid rock covered with plaster, so it's cool and shady when the mercury rises and even the lizards are too lazy to move. Sometimes people step in wanting a break from the sun or to get out of the deluge during rainy season, but they never leave without buying something. That's part of my unique gift (and why I always work in retail). At one point I sold furniture on commission but it just wasn't fair—fish in a barrel.

Ostensibly, I run a pawn shop marked by a simple red and white sign that reads casa de empeño, but anyone who lives in Los Remedios along the road to Atizapán will tell you it's more. They'll also offer you a fuchsia candy tortilla at the stoplight just before you come to my store; it's the intersection where a man with a mime's face juggles fire and a monkeyless organ-grinder plies his trade dispiritedly (how he lost the monkey is another story). Don't eat the tortilla, don't tip more than twenty pesos, and make a left turn. You'll find me, if you really need to.

I'm an expert at staying hidden. More than once, it's been the difference between life and death, so I live lean and keep my head down. So far as I know, I'm doing well here. Nobody knows what I'm running from.

And I'd like to keep it that way.

Unfortunately, our pasts have a way of coming back, time and again, just like our shadows. Oh, there are ways to sever your shadow, and I know a guy who did, but it was a really bad idea. He took sick afterward, died the slow death of a consumptive, and last I heard, his shadow was making a killing in Atlantic City. Literally.

These are dark times, and I just want a quiet place to ride them out.

Unfortunately, things never seem to work out the way I want them to.

My first inkling that I hadn't covered my tracks completely came on a sunny Monday afternoon. I was sitting behind the glass case in my shop, eyeballing a pair of hand-painted porcelain miniatures I'd bought for two hundred pesos maybe twenty minutes before. Nice, they looked Dutch, and some tourist would buy them by next Friday.

Foretelling isn't really my thing—well, only as an adjunct to my real gift and only as relates to the object I'm handling. When I touch something, I know what's happened to an item, who's owned it, and to a lesser extent, what will happen to it in the future, although that's less sure, as any diviner could tell you. Such prediction isn't much use, unless you're breathless with wondering about the fate of hand-painted Dutch miniatures. Most people aren't.

History, though . . . yeah, therein lies the magic. And the reason folks never stop trying to find me. If this could talk, people say dreamily, peering at a piece of antique jewelry. In truth it's generally pretty boring; the item gets worn, and then it goes in a box. Repeat. But once in a while, once in a while an item passes across my palms with a real story to tell.

And that's where the trouble starts.

Trouble smells like singed horsehair. I'll never get past that. When I was ten, my pony died when our barn was burned down, and I'll never forget the way Sugar screamed. That was my first look at an angry mob, but not my last. If you think they don't burn witches anymore, you never lived in Kilmer, Georgia.

And that's the damnedest thing; those same folks will come creeping after dark to your back door, one by one, begging for the moon, but get them together, talking, and they start lighting torches. Not the whole town, of course, but a select few who come in midnight's dark to do their devil's work. They said it was for the greater good, but I saw their eyes before I ran.

To this day, when life is about to get rocky, I smell the burning all over again, one of two legacies my mama left me. And on that Wednesday, the shop stunk to high heaven as someone pushed through the door, jingling the bell. I put down the miniatures, already braced to make a break for the door off the alley.

But I didn't want to leave, dammit. Thanks to the second gift my mama gave me, I made a good living here and sometimes I even went out on Saturday nights. Nobody brought me tiny pierced earrings from dead babies or soiled mittens from missing children. Nobody expected me to do anything at all, and that was exactly how I liked it.

I don't know my ex's real name. He first introduced himself as Chance; he claims he came by the tag from the silver coin he likes to toy with, rolling it across his knuckles, tossing it for a hundred and coming up tails every time. I'd pumped his mother for information, more than once, but she had a way of changing the subject that was downright uncanny. The most I ever got out of her was, "It would be dangerous if you knew his true name, Corine."

Regardless, his presence in my humble shop in Los Remedios, two thousand miles from where I'd seen him last, could mean nothing good.

"You're a hard woman to find," he said, leaning up on my counter as if he thought I'd be glad to see him. "I could almost be hurt by that, Corine."

Well, I couldn't really argue, as I'd left him sleeping in my bed when I took flight. "What're you doing here?"

"I need you to handle something for me, just one job. I wouldn't have come if it wasn't important." Pleading, he fixed striated amber eyes on me, knowing I was a sucker for that look.

Or I used to be. I wasn't anymore.

Chance wasn't my manager any longer. Or my lover, for that matter. I didn't want to handle charged objects, didn't want to tell people their loved one had been strangled while wearing that sweater. I didn't want to do that anymore.

We had a hell of a run, him and me. For as many bereaved families as we helped, we encountered neo-pagan witches, truck-driving mediums, guys who sold genuine lucky charms out of the trunks of their cars, and folks who simply defied description with what they could do and why they did it. Sometimes I felt like we might've even brushed up against angels and demons, slipping by beneath the hot velvet of a summer night.

Chance had a way of ferreting out the weird and the improbable as if his inner compass focused on such things, quivered with unseen divinations. And he looked beautiful while doing it.

My heart gave a little kick. After all this time, he still had the power to make my pulse skip. Some genius genetics had gone into Chance's making: long and lean, a chiseled face with a vaguely Asian look, capped by uncanny tiger eyes and a mouth that could tempt a holy sister to sin. I wondered if he'd felt the last kiss I brushed against that mouth, eighteen months ago. I wondered whether he'd missed me or just the revenue.

To make matters worse, he knew how to dress, and today he wore Kenneth Cole extremely well: crinkle-washed shirt in Italian cotton, jet with a muted silver stripe, dusty black button-fly jeans, polished shoes, and a black velvet blazer. I didn't need his sartorial elegance to remind me I'd gone native, a sheer gauze blouse with crimson embroidery around the neck and a parti-colored skirt. I was even wearing flip-flops. They had a big red silk hibiscus on each toe, but were flip-flops nonetheless. It was amazing he could look at me with a straight face.

But then, he'd been raised well. His mom, Yi Min-chin, was a nice lady who made great kimchi, but he'd never say who his daddy was, claiming such knowledge granted too much power over him. And his mother went along with it. I figured it was just more of his bullshit, but with Chance, you never could be sure. He had the devil's own luck, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Lucifer himself someday came to claim him.

"It's never just one job with you," I said with a trace of bitterness. "I'm a show pony to you, and you never get tired of putting me through my paces. I am out of the life now. Retired. Get it? Now get out, and if you ever felt anything for me, don't tell anybody where I am." I hated the way my tone turned pleading at the end.

I'd built this life. I didn't want to have to parlay to keep it.

Without a word, he flattened his palm on the top of the glass case that housed my rare treasures. When he lifted his hand, I expected to see his coin because the item glinted silver. But as I leaned in, I saw something that sent snakes disco dancing in my belly.

Because it meant I had to help him.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 44 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2009

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    I might be the odd women out here but I didn't particularly fancy this book

    I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I read three-quarters of it and then just threw in the towel. The main character and the slow pace of the story really tried my patience. I felt like the author was dragging out the storyline and had way too many page fillers. Pages upon pages of explanations for Corine's feelings, her surroundings, the carpet, the tile, the curtains, what she's wearing, what her ex is wearing, what she's eating. The main character Corine has a cool gift of the "touch". Instead of actually "touching" things, she spent most of her time reminiscing about her ex-husband. Who, I might add, has come to her for help because his mother, the mother-in-law she loves so much, has been kidnapped. While they go on their road trip back to the scene of the crime, she's not only insensitive to his pain; she's making dates with another man. It took me three days to get through three-quarters of this book; it was that bad for me. Dark Urban Fantasy readers beware; to me this book seemed more like a paranormal romance disguised as UF. The book never seem to get anywhere and the author was way to repetitive. Therefore, I cannot recommend this book to urban fantasy readers but paranormal romance readers may find it intriguing.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Great urban fantasy!

    Fans of Kim Harrison, Laurel K. Hamilton, and Charlaine Harris should enjoy discovering this author. Lots of action, a little romantic sizzle, and plenty of magic -- all set against a realistic backdrop with well-developed characters. The southern Texas and Mexico setting is a great and colorful change of pace.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not enough progress in the storyline

    Corine Solomon has been in hiding for the past year and a half. As a Handler, when she handles an object, she is thrown into a vision of the past, present, and sometimes future of the object. A year and a half ago her boyfriend Chance and she worked together to find lost people and bring justice to those who inflict harm on others. She left after an incredibly painful near death experience and never looked back. Chance has been mooning over her since she left but refused to chase after her. When his mother turns up missing though, Chance has no choice but to track down Corine and use her gift to find his mother.

    I found this to be a very strange read. I never got incredibly into it as I usually do with this type of book. I continually put off reading it. I did enjoy the story, there was just something lacking in the portrayal of the book. I agree with the reviewer who said that there was a lot going on while not much was going on. The book lagged in areas where it should not have lagged. I also had a hard time with Chance's persona. Did he distance himself in a 3 year relationship simply because a previous lover died. It just doesn't fully add up in my mind.

    That being said, I find myself strangely wanting to continue the series. I have higher hopes for the second in the series. And my fingers are crossed that Corine and Chance may finally work out some of their many issues that they have together. Should they start to resolve some conflicts it will definitely help move the story line along.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2009

    Wanted to like it...

    But ultimately I didn't. I *did* like the begining and was hooked from the first few pages, but for some reason the writing and the plot lost me shortly after the first chapter. I felt like some characters were thrown in for no reason-- I did like Saldana, but I didn't understand why Kel was put in the mix. I mean, I know he helped out, but...I don't get him or like him. And Chuch & Eva...I dunno...I didn't connect with them.

    I did finish the book but I'm not sure I'll want to read a second one. I felt the pacing was a bit boring and it was hard to concentrate. I did like the small triangle between Chance and Saldana, and even though I wasn't looking for romance, I was wondering which one she'd choose, so that kept me wondering, but I really didn't feel any empathy or urgency to find Chance's mother.

    It's too bad, because the cover is pretty cool looking. Love the colors. It's one of the reasons I picked up the book. I love a good book cover, especially if it ends up being a great read. Which in this was 'ok'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Worth an evening's read

    Enjoyed the main character. Feisty, tough, complex. Will likely try a couple more by this author. I do a lot of business travel, and prefer to read on the plane or in the evening to wind down after a day of meetings.
    Good escapism.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    Blue Diablo is a fun mystery with great paranormal aspects. The

    Blue Diablo is a fun mystery with great paranormal aspects. The writing style is wonderful, the voice unique to the main character. As an intro novel to a new series, we meet Corine, whom I thought was a good heroine. She had plenty of realistic hang ups in her past that make her not want to fall back into old habits, and old relationships, when her ex shows up looking for help.

    On the romantic side of things, it was refreshing to see a main character who didn’t instantly give in, who continued to question and be unsure and make wise choices based on past experience.

    On the mystery side, I found the plot to be intricate, but easy to follow. I was never lost in the direction the story was heading, but at the same time, I couldn’t guess what would come next until the clues were uncovered.

    I found the ending satisfying, with enough things wrapped up that the book is complete in itself, but with an opening if I want to continue reading the series.

    *Originally posted on goodreads

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    awful from start to finish

    It was a struggle to force myself to finish reading this book. The main character is idiotic and the plot is not much better.

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  • Posted January 16, 2013

    I couldn't even finish this book, I was so bored.

    I couldn't even finish this book, I was so bored.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    I was expecting more from the book.

    The story plot seemed a little weak,and I wasn't exactly surprised throughout the whole book.

    Long story short: Although the story itself was interesting,I wouldn't recomend it to any friends.

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  • Posted April 7, 2012

    Ann Aguirre is one of speculative fiction's brightest recent sta

    Ann Aguirre is one of speculative fiction's brightest recent stars. Her Sirantha Jax space operas are not only imaginative and gripping; they display a sure hand at characterization and a sense for pacing and tone that has eluded many others in the speculative genres.

    Blue Diablo, first of Aguirre's new series, introduces us to a massively appealing heroine: Corine Solomon: orphaned by violence, possessor of an unusual power that takes as it gives, who wants only to run her little shop and be left in peace. But the reappearance of her quondam lover Chance, and the possibility that with his assistance she might unravel some of the mysteries around her mother's death, compel her to leave her insular concerns behind to grapple with forces quite willing to see her dead rather than allow her to get near what she and Chance seek to learn.

    The author's obvious gift for the creation of unique and intriguing protagonists, married to her excellent prose, guarantees a bright future -- for Corine Solomon and Ann Aguirre both.

    Francis W. Porretto
    Author of Which Art In Hope and the Realm of Essences series

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  • Posted January 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Blue Diablo

    Met this new to me author at RT 2009 and wanted her book so bad but I had already blew my budget. What I should have done was scrape pennies to buy it. The story is strong, fast paced, and action packed. The hero is sweet, sexy, and mysterious. The heroine is strong, smart, and sassy. It has everything I want in in a UF. Throw in a wicked sense of humor from the author and I have a great new series to add to my auto buy list. Well done Ann. I can't wait for the next one!

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  • Posted September 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Urban Fantasy read with loads of unseen twists and action.

    Corine lives above the pawnshop she owns in Mexico city. She doesn't stay places long, having to stay on the move and knowing she should be on the move again. But she likes living here and her ability with the nicknack's helps in this business. She finds it's peaceful here for her and she likes the shop. Then one day Chance, her ex-boyfriend she left to come to Mexico City, walks in her door. Chance has tracked her down using his Luck. Chance needs Corine's help, and asks her to help him find his mother, also close to Corine, who was taken and is hopefully still alive. Chance is hoping Corine's power of touch and sight mixed with his luck will work together to find his mother.

    I found the beginning a little slower for me, but in no time the book picked up and I really enjoyed this book. I think in the beginning I didn't understand what Corine was holding back from, but as the book unfolded I warmed up to Corine and stated to understand her more and more. I did love her calm and humor or quick comebacks. She did make me smile. And the brief torture moments along with comments to Chance on them not being a couple any more. Although, I loved Chance from the beginning. The two characters fight through many rough moments in the investigation and through the history they had together and make it through. I enjoyed the relationships between all the characters.

    The book has a mix of magic and dark magic with witches and warlords, zombies, and some warfare as well. There is lots of excitement in this book with the action and information. Once I got done I immediately thought this book would make a great action movie full with some sexual tension, love and attitude to go with it, with great fight scenes and complete with blown up cars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2009

    Great first book of the Corine Solomon series

    I have read previous Ann Aquirre books set in the Jax universe, this book is a paranormal with lots of excitement. Enjoyed it and will read the next one in this series

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  • Posted June 6, 2009


    I enjoyed this book, and look forward to more in this series.

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  • Posted May 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Was Pleasantly Surprised

    i actually just picked this book because i didn't have anything else to read, and it looked kind of interesting. i finished it in about 2 hours and im waiting on the next one as we speak. i also went back and found ann aguirre's previous work just because of how much i liked it. it wasn't sappy but had some romantic overturnes (some sexual tension). there was a lot of action, even some mystery and drama as they tried to solve the problem. i really liked this book. give it a try.

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  • Posted April 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Blue Diablo! Muy Caliente!

    Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon book 1) by Ann Aguirre

    Corine Solomon is a handler. If she touches something that's magically charged, she can see its past; like who held it last, where its been, or events surrounding the item. Sometimes she can even see the future. In the past she used these powers to look for missing persons, and to put the bad guys in jail. Now, she just wants the simple life she's set up for herself in Mexico, but people keep trying to find her and put those powers to use again. People like her ex-boyfriend, Chance, who is desperate to find his missing mother. Corine knows that she must help as soon as she handles his mothers lucky Buddha, and sees that she was taken. As they follow the clues they find themselves facing sorcerers, demons, witches, zombies, and ghost, and in more danger than they bargained for.

    Blue Diablo adds a muy caliente Southwestern flair to the Urban Fantasy genre, and leading lady Corine is down to Earth and as real as they get. She doesn't have super strength, and she doesn't tote around guns. The best she can do is throw a grenade. The only thing she possesses is the power her late mother left her with. I enjoyed the romance and the sexual tension between Corine and her ex, Chance. Corine is confused about her feelings toward Chance, and she's constantly questioning his intentions. Which is good considering their past: working together to rescue people and rake in big money. But when Corine almost lost her life, she decided enough was enough and left him in the middle of the night. Their chemistry is undeniable though, and they find themselves working against each other at times because they are afraid of their feelings.

    Corine's powers were pulled off brilliantly. Better than other books I have read with handlers in them, and her powers paired with Chance's luck make them unstoppable. The powers of a few of the other characters had me a bit confused, like a character being sent by God...was he really or was he just crazy or maybe just a supernatural with healing abilities? But it all works out in the end with a huge battle scene starring tons of zombies!

    Blue Diablo is smart and saucy, with a great cast of characters that are likeable, memorable, and most of all have each other's backs no matter what. Each time a new character came on the scene they were well fleshed out, and I could tell that a lot of thought went into each one.

    I look forward to reading book two in the Corine Solomon series when it's released. In the meantime you should head out and get this book when it comes out on April 7th!

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  • Posted March 27, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Another great Aguirre book!

    One of the biggest complaints I have with urban fantasy as a whole is that it tends to lean very far into the paranormal and make realism second place. Not so with Ann Aguirre's latest offering, Blue Diablo, which, put simply, is To Cast a Deadly Spell meets Commando.

    Corine Solomon is a woman on the run. She's settled in Mexico City and managed to keep up a life as a shopkeeper for eighteen months when her ex-boyfriend, one of the many people she's hiding from, walks in her shop door. She still isn't over Chance, not what he put her through or her love for him. But none of it matters because Chance asks for Corine for the one thing he knows she'll give--her help finding his kidnapped mother.

    Corine isn't the only person whose past has caught up with them, but she is the only one who can help because Min, Chance's mother, has left a trail of clues that only Corine's gift of psychometry (psychic reading of events through objects) can decipher.

    Blue Diablo stands out from the genre, not just because it wholly encompasses "bad guys" outside of the serial killer and supernatural varieties, or because of its higher than typical body count. One of the biggest stand out features of this book is the cast of realistic, almost entirely minority characters and non-Celtic/European magic mythos.

    In comparison to Aguirre's other books (Grimspace and Wanderlust) Blue Diablo is a true blend of the genres that make urban fantasy; fantasy, mystery, romance and horror, whereas the former are science fiction with romantic elements. Blue Diablo's heroine and hero are no less emotionally tortured, in either their pasts or their feelings for each other.

    Aguirre likes the devastated hero, and the heroine whose power costs something. Readers who like mixed blessings in their magic and desperate, delicious heroes will find a lot to like in Aguirre's books. Nothing comes easy, if at all. Not defeating the bad guy, or winning the day or even getting the guy/girl. It makes Blue Diablo not an effortless read, but a tension-filled exciting tale nonetheless.

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  • Posted February 14, 2009

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    great urban detective fantasy

    Corine Solomon has the ability to hold an object and know its history as she can determine who possessed it; sometimes she can even see its future as to who will own it next. As a handler, Corine wants to help people, but feels overwhelmed with their needs as much as she worries about those who fear her ¿gift¿. On her last operation with her then lover Chance at her side, she accomplished what she set out to do, but almost died achieving her goal. Even though she loves Chance, she left him while he was sleeping to keep herself safe. She starts over in Mexico City running a pawn shop.<BR/><BR/>Eighteen months later, Chance walks into her store informing her that his mother is missing. He asks Corine to help him find her; she agrees. They find a button where the woman was Last seen. Corine holds the button and sees the woman binding four demons using chicken blood. When she touches his mother¿s purse at the police station, Corine hears the words ¿la Zona¿; the red light district in Nuevo Laredo. A wizard magically attacks Corine to prevent her from finding Chance¿s mother but she and Chance persevere even if they both might die.<BR/><BR/>The first Corine Solomon urban detective fantasy is a great tale filled with magic, paranormal powers, demons, and spirits bound to the necro. The heat between the lead couple is palpable, but Corine fears her love for Chance will weaken her and put him at risk. Ann Aguirre makes her realm feel realistic as her heroine and her beloved investigate the disappearance paranormal style. This is an enthralling romantic urban fantasy. <BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

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    Posted April 30, 2010

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