Murder Once Seen
Author: J.T. Hall
Title: Murder Once Seen
Series: The Oddities 1
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website:
In the city of Nis, things often aren’t what they seem.
Derwin is a bounty hunter gifted with the Oddity of superhuman strength and agility—perfect for hunting down fugitives and demons who roam the streets. One killed his boyfriend two years ago, and Derwin won’t stop until he finds out who. Police suspect it was someone he sent to prison, but he can’t shake the idea that they’re missing something.
Elliot is a rentboy who’s been living on the streets since his parents disowned him. He mistrusts everyone and, given his uncontrolled ability to Read Objects and a client list that includes a major gang boss, despairs of ever having a normal life.
Derwin and Elliot meet in a storm of lust. Derwin’s Oddity is fed by the pain of others, but he only wants what’s freely given. Elliot loves pain, but needs safety and a way off the streets before he can allow it. They may be able to solve each other’s problems . . . if they can survive long enough to work together.
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Demons came to earth and the world as we know it ceased to exist. During the fight for survival, the U.S. was split into many separate countries and humans began to exhibit traits called Oddities. These magic-like powers allowed humans to compete with the demons and survive. Oddities are often forced to serve in the military and can live very difficult lives. Derwin and Elliot are two oddities that have managed to keep their abilities hidden from the government. Derwin is hunting for his lover's killer and finds Elliot on the way. Together they have many more problems to sort out than just who killed Derwin's lover Grady, including the fact that Elliot is a rent boy and the fact that the murderer might not be finished yet.
I really enjoyed the world building in this story, but I thought it was slightly incomplete. Humans live in cities or small towns protected by high walls and lots of guards. The demons roam the wild places in between, making it only safe to travel if you have an oddity or an armed escort. I thought that was really interesting, however how that status quo was reached was never explained. The magical powers were given a little more depth in that it was explained that no one really quite understood why some humans became Oddities. I think that mystery will continue as the series grows and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more.
The plot also kept me completely hooked the entire time. The depth the world-building provided allowed the plot to really twist and turn until I was on the edge of my seat. Everything flowed from one bit to the next and I honestly had trouble putting this book down. Elliot's time as a rent boy pulls the story in one direction, Derwin's hunt for Grady's killer pulls the story in another direction, and then it all manages to come together perfectly thanks to the romance that ties both plots into one great story.
I honestly couldn't put this book down, which is why I definitely recommend it. It had excellent plots with twists and turns that kept me hooked until the end. The world building needed a touch more depth, but there was more than enough to support the plot and overall I really liked this story.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.