Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon Series #1)

Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon Series #1)

by Ann Aguirre

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451462640
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/07/2009
Series: Corine Solomon Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,262,360
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

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.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“An authentic Southwestern-flavored feast, filled with magic, revenge and romance, spiced with memorable characters and page-turning action. ¡Muy caliente!"—Rachel Caine, New York Times bestselling author of Gale Force

Customer Reviews

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Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon Series #1) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
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.
pateleo More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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'.
mysticmoods More than 1 year ago
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.
BellaMiaow on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I can't think of a thing that wasn't right in Blue Diablo. I can think of one thing that made it stand head and shoulders above much of what I've read lately: Aguirre knows that sexual tension can be much sexier than explicit sex scenes! That is such a relief!I'm looking forward to reading more about Corine and Chance. I've been waiting for more of her Grimspace series, so now I'm torn. Just give us more, Ann!
samantha.1020 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Blue Diablo begins with Corine's ex-boyfriend Chance showing up at her store and home in Mexico looking for help. Corine is a handler, which in a nutshell means that she is able to touch different objects and tell the object's history as well as sometimes more from touching it. Chance's mother has disappeared and his only lead is an object that he believes she left behind as a clue to where she has gone. Now it is up to Corine and Chance to track his mother down to bring her to safety and while they do that they may just get a little more than they bargained for.For me a good book needs to have strong, interesting characters that make me want to read their story. Luckily enough, Corine and Chance were great main characters to read about. The history between them is present throughout the story and is always something that is between them. I liked that the author didn't make it easy for them: they still hurt from the past and each other but at the same time the feelings that they had for each other were still there. I was just waiting to see if they would be able to work everything out. The storyline itself was fast paced and interesting. I liked the idea that Corine was able to get the history of something just from touching different objects. And I thought it was interesting that the handling of these objects caused Corine different levels of pain depending on what she touched. It made this book different from a lot of books that are out there in this genre. The entire read was very satisfying and this is an author that I want to read more of and soon. I can't wait to see what will happen between Corine and Chance in future books! All in all, a great read.Bottom line: This is a definite book and beginning of a series to check out if you enjoy urban fantasy! Recommended!
MelHay on LibraryThing 5 months ago
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.
bridget3420 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Corine Solomon's peaceful life in Mexico changed in the blink of an eye. One minute she's happily running her shop and the next, Chance strolls in and her life becomes chaotic once again. His mother has disappeared and he needs her help. You see, Corine isn't just your everyday, average person. She's "gifted". She can touch an object and it will show her parts of the past, but this talent comes at a price.When Corine meets Officer Saldana, an empath, sparks fly. Figuratively and literally. She finds out that she is not alone in the "gifted" world. Saldana takes her under his wing but she soon begins to wonder if that's a good place for her. Corine begins to see that this will not be an easy task. They'll have to battle warlocks, zombies, and maybe even each other. With the help of some friends, an enemy and Butch, a chihuahua Corine hopes to unravel the truth about Chance's mom.This book goes on sale April 7th. Make sure to reserve your copy because this is a book you don't want to miss!
tdfangirl on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I absolutely adore Ann Aguirre¿s science fiction books. Grimspace and Wanderlust are two of the most refreshingly creative SF books I¿ve read in a long time. So I was very excited to receive an ARC of Blue Diablo. The genre is completely different¿urban fantasy as opposed to science fiction¿and I was eager to see what Ann could do in this new sandbox.She definitely doesn¿t disappoint. Blue Diablo is an intricately plotted mystery that had me gasping in surprise several times. I definitely like that I could guess at the motives behind Chance¿s mother¿s disappearance, but I never felt certain that I knew what was going on. It kept me guessing right until the very end.Blue Diablo has a great cast of characters, all of whom are nicely developed and never flat. Corine is quirky and likable, and I found myself wishing that I could visit her pawn shop in Mexico City, because her apartment sounds SO cool. I really appreciate that her caution around Chance felt realistic; it didn¿t exist just to create tension in the plot. I could really feel the history between these two, and that history affected every move Corine made around him. Chance is just mysterious enough to really interest me and just developed enough to make me really, really like him. Jesse Saldana hovers at the edges of my interest, but I¿m intrigued by him. I want to know his motivations and if they really are his own, especially where Corine is concerned. The supporting characters, particularly Eva and Chuch, are nicely rounded and entertaining.My only complaint is that the book takes a while to really get rolling. The first quarter, where Corine and Chance are making their way from Mexico City to Laredo, moved pretty slowly, and I think that if something other than broken down cars had happened, I would have been much more engaged and satisfied with the first part.But overall, Blue Diablo is an exciting, engaging urban fantasy set in a locale that, as far as I know, hasn¿t been featured in the genre before. I really enjoyed it, and I¿m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series, Hellfire, which is coming out in April of 2010.
kcaroth1 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Corine, a handler (she gets images from objects), comes out of hiding to help her ex-boyfriend track down those who have kidnapped his mother.I find that I particularly like urban fantasy that is set in the "real world." In other words, the world isn't operating on magical principles, humans aren't aware of and loving and/or hating the magical community. Hiding or disguising their abilities makes the characters just a little bit more interesting. Ann Aguirre offers well-developed characters, a few twists, and lots of action.I had two relatively minor complaints. The ex-boyfriend has an ability to make luck go his way and his name is Chance--ugg. And at one point, he prowls through a house shooting some bad guys. There was no explanation in his background for having the experience to start doing that. Is he ex-military, police,etc? All in all, a good read, and I look forward to the next in the series.
gerleliz on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Pretty good, writing is ok
krissa on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I enjoyed this one. It is not a world I know anything about, and so it was all the more entertaining. On the most part, I enjoyed the characters, and understood their motivation. I like the way the author uses Corine¿s gift to uncover clues and move the story forward. Also, the setting. I have never been to Texas, although I have been to Oklahoma and Mexico. could picture the scenery vividly. I will definitely be seeking out the sequel to this book.
SunnySD on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Corine Solomon has a talent for retail, so running a pawnshop in Mexico City is right up her alley. And it's peaceful - that is until her ex shows up. Chance need Corine's other talent. She's a handler, with the ability to see a quick snapshot of the last few moments someone handled almost any item. Ordinarily, Corine wouldn't have any problem saying no, even though she's not even semi-over Chance. But his mom's gone missing in Laredo, and without her help missing may turn in to dead - if it hasn't already.The bad guy was a bit too easy to spot, so it's a good thing Aguirre didn't wrap things up there - Corine's a kick. A promising series opener.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a struggle to force myself to finish reading this book. The main character is idiotic and the plot is not much better.
misskris75 More than 1 year ago
I couldn't even finish this book, I was so bored.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
CurmudgeonEmeritus More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
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