001 In a Fix (Ciel Halligan) by Linda Grimes
(too old to reply)
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-03-21 19:59:44 UTC
001 In a Fix (Ciel Halligan) by Linda Grimes

Ciel Halligan is an aura adaptor. Don't call her a shape shifter,
aura adaptors don't like that. Nonetheless, this small clanish
group can assume the shape (and voice and mannerisms) of anyone
they come into contact with, and keep those "auras" on file

It's obviously a talent with commercial applications, especially
as it's unknown or unbelieved-in by the world at large. Ceil's
idea for making money is to act as a stand-in/body double for her
clients. If you pay her enough, she will play you as "you" go over
life's rough spots. Don't interview well? Ceil will get you in
like Flynn. Need to get out of town while still keeping commitments
you can't get out of? Ceil will show the flag for you. Need to
get your boyfriend to propose? Well, that's where Ceil starts this
book: aura adapted as a beautiful woman on a tropic isle vacation
with her hunky boyfriend. It's probably one of the less convincing
hooks for her applying her talent once it's explained, but it gets
the book off to a pretty good start.

Just as Ceil has started to implement her plan for seducing said
boyfriend into a proposal (she conviently has her client's permission
to have sex..), all hell breaks loose as their cottage is blown up,
and Ceil is snared in hunky boyfriend's secret CIA life and enemies.

Quickly on the scene to bail Ceil out are two other aura adaptors,
both childhood friends and both potential (and more than potential)
love interests. We gradually get more of Ceil's backstory and how
she is desperately trying to forge a life of her own independent
of these two (and of her meddling brother) or at least get them to
treat her as an adult instead of a brat, and how as she becomes
emeshed in their schemes, that becomes more and more difficult.

Along the way, Ceil will be captured by modern Vikings, be shot
from a catapult and pee on someone's head...

With Ciel Halligan Grimes seems to be going for the "Urban Fantasy
as Sex Farce" territory occupied mainly by Karen Chance and her
Cassie Palmer stories. She hits the mark more often than she misses,
but she does miss more often than Chance. Chance has a way of
putting likeable characters in real danger amidst the general
absurdity which Grimes has not yet quite mastered. She also misses
some fairly obvious uses Ceil could put her talent to. The most
glaring is making a point of introducing Ceil to a champion swimmer
a little bit before she is nearly drowned and not having her adopt
his aura when needed. The modern Viking plotline is also very
forced and their plan is so ludicrous that it's hard to take them
as a real threat.

Still it's a good start for a series that doesn't take itself too
seriously, and I will check out the next book when and if.
Robert Carnegie
2020-03-22 14:49:19 UTC
What the heck are "modern Vikings"?
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-03-22 17:59:21 UTC
Post by Robert Carnegie
What the heck are "modern Vikings"?
Chapter 9

Mark stood at the end of the otherwise empty corridor,
speaking softly into his phone. When he saw the three of
us he held up one finger, said a few more words, then ended
his conversation. He slipped the phone into his front jeans
pocket, where the ultra-slim gadget barely made a bulge,
and gestured for the three of us to join him.

"What's up?" Billy asked.

"Okay. The Swede works for some wacko neo-Viking splinter
group bent on restoring masculinity to Scandinavia." Derision
seeped through his carefully neutral voice.

"Vikings? You have got to be kidding me," I said, picturing
a bunch of tall, blond barbarians running around in horned

Mark looked faintly embarrassed. "Yeah, I know. But I guess
it's no weirder than some of the other shit going on in the

Billy grinned and held up fingers on either side of his
head, simulating horns. Great minds think alike. "No, this
is definitely weirder."

I giggled.

Mark gave us both a quelling look. "It is what it is. This
group wants to reclaim their heritage of strength and honor."

Billy nodded. "The world can always use more strength and
honor. And helmets. You can never have too many helmets."

Thomas silenced Billy with a backhanded slap to his shoulder.

"Trey connected with the Vikings six months ago," Mark
continued, "and has been trying to figure out whether they're
a legitimate threat or just out to grab some headlines."

"Why Trey?" Thomas asked. "Isn't he a little green for
anything other than courier work?"

"Normally, yes. But he had a legitimate business reason to
be in Sweden, and, frankly, it didn't seem like this
neo-Viking thing would amount to much. I mean, this is a
group that started out as a bunch of men who were tired of
being told by society to 'pee sitting down,' as they so
colorfully put it. Hard to take that seriously."

"I'm going out on a limb here, and assuming they meant that
metaphorically," Billy said.

"One hopes," Mark said, lips quirking. "Anyway, the group
has grown recently. It's showing signs of expanding to
America, for fundraising mostly, at least so far. Sweden
doesn't want them taking a page from the IRA playbook, and
has requested we take a closer look. There've been some
rallies, a lot of blustering. No public violence, but picking
up steam to the point where we couldn't ignore them as a
possible future threat, no matter how ridiculous they seem."

"Ridiculous or not, they're after Trey," Thomas said. "Did
your organization drop the ball somewhere, Mark?" The
accusation was clear.

"Come on, Tom, be fair," Billy said, all seriousness now.
"Do you have any idea how many radical splinter groups there
are to keep track of in the world?"
What's not in Columbia anymore..