Review: Crooked Shadows (Whitethorn Agency #2) by M.A. Grant

Everyone has secrets. Especially those who live in the shadows.

Cristian Slava doesn’t fear much. After he was betrayed by the man he called an uncle, leaving upstate New York for the Carpathian Mountains of his childhood is more a matter of practicality than fear. With him is Atlas Kinkaid, a former marine turned fierce bodyguard…and fierce lover, albeit a hell of a complicated one.

Cristian’s cunning is tested by the politics and intrigue of the vampire families of Romania, and the warm welcome he and Atlas were assured of quickly turns to ash as they race to unravel the mystery of an old friend’s disappearance. Searching for the missing vampire draws them into a web of betrayal and half-truths that reaches further than Cristian ever could have imagined, and they uncover a string of grisly murders that bear a striking similarity to the attack that changed Atlas’s life forever.

Stalked by the past and uncertain of the future, Cristian learns he does have something to fear after all…

Losing the man he loves.

Starting immediately after Rare Vigilance ends, our heroes Cristian and Atlas are on the run for their lives determined to find some answers about strange monstrous attacks that have made their way across the ocean to the United States. As they wend themselves throughout Cristian’s birthplace of Romania, the very place that still haunts Atlas’s nightmares from his military past, these two really truly need to get their shit together if they’re going to survive another day.

This time the story is told from Cristian’s POV, lending more insight to the enigmatic character who has seen and suffered much, who has maybe skirted/avoided his responsibilities a lot, but is now ready to do anything to help save himself, his lover, and his father’s empire. As other reviewers have said, this is more steeped in the mystery, trying to find who is hunting fellow vampires, investigating a friend’s mysterious disappearance, and avoiding the brutal machinations of a clan that won’t take no for an answer, all the while landing smack dab in the middle of a decades in the making power grab.

To say the least, this was atmospheric and dark, heavy with paranoia, as Grant further expands on the paranormal world she has created. There’s a very complex plot being woven here that is not quite finished, and the reader is lured by the growing bond between Cristian and Atlas (along with my utter disbelief that bodyguard Atlas’s only weapon is a small silver sword) amongst a compelling setup where enemies are a dime a dozen, true allies are a rarity if at all, and betrayal around every corner should always be expected.

Overall, an intense read with a very appreciated organic plausible growing romance. Some questions were answered, but be forewarned that this ends abruptly on one hell of a cliffhanger! The next book to come will indeed be a very long wait!

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