Spoiler Free Summary: In Guilty by Association by E.A. Copen, Special Agent Judah Black has just gotten to The Paint Rock Supernatural Reservation. She’s new. She’s an agent for a hated government program responsible for the supernatural creatures’ current position. The local law doesn’t appreciate her position much more. So when a young werewolf is found dead, and her questions stir up the locals, she has to do more than just solve the case. She has to understand the political and societal intricacies of a town composed of every supernatural being you can imagine, all while trying to keep her own secrets that, if discovered, will put her in violation of the very government agency she works for.
Character: The good news is this story is full of great, deep, proactive and sympathetic characters. Honestly each character in this story grows the way only great serial fiction can. My only beef isn’t with Judah’s drive and emotion. It’s one specific decision she makes that I just couldn’t find realistic. If you really want to know what I had beef with, you’ll have to read the book because I don’t want to create reader bias. That decision is still something I couldn’t let go. However, that didn’t take away from a good story with a wonderful cast.
Exposition: As is typical with first person narrative, this story has more exposition than I like, and it might have more than it even needs. That amount of exposition doesn’t drag the story down unnecessarily. The way I measure this is how hard it is for me to read through the story. Usually, when it takes me a while to get through a book, it’s either really long or (frankly) really boring. I tore through this book pretty quickly despite a pretty rough week. That’s a good indication that the exposition was at least acceptable.
Worldbuilding: I have to give first books in a series a lot of slack in world building. You don’t want to bury your reader in the details of your world before they fall in love with the characters and gain interest in the plot. This book does a solid job of giving me the context I need to understand the plot without overwhelming me with details that never affected the overall story. What I like most is the implication of a deeper plot with more world building to be discovered. This really motivated me to read more books in the series. (I’m not saying I will. My TBR is huge right now, and I won’t read any what I call tangent books until my actual reading obligations get back under control. But if I do find myself with a clean TBR, I’d probably pick up book two in this series just to see more of how this reservation works.) The concept of this reservation is the number one draw for me in this book. I want to know more. I want to see the other cultures and how they interact.
Dialogue: I’d say this is solid. I can’t quote any one segment of the book, but none of the interaction felt forced or contrived.
Description: I think there was a bit of room for some more details. I don’t need (or like) to be told about every piece of lint in the room, but I would have liked a few more well-placed adjectives.
Overall: This was an entertaining urban fantasy murder mystery story. This has a fascinating premise I like the feel and setting. The world building in this book is enough reason to recommend it to fans of the genre. Yes, the MC makes one decision I just don’t believe any other person in her position would ever make, but I wouldn’t let that stop me from recommending it to others. (I would warn them about it though.) There’s a lot to like about this book.
Thanks for reading