Cursed Author: S. J. Harper Series: Fallen Siren 1 Publisher: Roc, October 1, 2013 Format: Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages List Price: $7.99 (print) ISBN: 9780425263297 (print) Review Copy: Provided by the Publisher
Meet FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong. She's cursed. He's damned. Together, they make one hell of a team.
Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.
Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them.
Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal, and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.
Cursed is the first novel in a new urban fantasy series by S.J. Harper, the pen name for co-authors Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne Stein. The Fallen Siren Series follows Emma Monroe, an ancient siren cursed by the Goddess Demeter to spent eons on earth helping others in need, while seeking her own salvation and hiding her true self. Emma is trying to fulfill her purpose by working in the missing persons section of the FBI. Emma is dismayed when her new partner turns out to be an old flame, werewolf Zack Armstrong. While she deals with her undeniable attraction to Zack, the pair must race against time to stop the menace that is kidnapping area women.
Emma and Zack are both highly intelligent and strong, and they both harbor secrets and carry scars from their past. Neither one is perfect, but together they work perfectly. The chemistry between the two is red hot, creating amazing sexual tension amid the chaos of the cases they are trying to solve. They heat up the pages in some scenes in a wonderfully steamy way. The supernatural side of both Emma and Zack is a vital component to the story and is extremely well done. The world they live in is based on ancient myths in part, but is also enhanced by the imagination of the authors. They add their own flavor to the myths that I found delightful.
The story is told through Emma’s eyes, which was fine, but I found the tense the authors used to be a little off-putting at first. Emma uses the present tense, not something I’ve really seen in the first person very often, if at all. The tense wasn’t enough to detract from the story, but it did take a little getting used to. The plot revolves not only around Emma and Zack, but also their pasts and the current cases they are working on. These are all blended beautifully so that nothing gets pushed aside or lost. There are a few secondary characters of note. Emma’s friend Liz, who is privy to her secret, is a fun character, but the Goddess Demeter tends to steal the scenes when she shows up in all her angry glory. The mystery kept me sufficiently intrigued throughout the book and had a satisfying ending. There are a few surprises that add to the complexity of not only the plot of this book, but also to the world in which it takes place, and while the missing persons cases are solved, the fate of Emma and Zack is left up in that air. This means there will be more to come from this writing duo and I am very interested to see where they take the characters in Reckoning (Book 2) and how far they go with this new supernatural world they have created.