Book Review – Evil Embers by Cristelle Comby

Vale Investigation #2
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 204
Characters: Bellamy Vale, Zianyon, Candice Kennedy, Melanie Ramirez
POV: 1st
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery Detective, Series

There’s “hard to kill”—and then there’s Bellamy Vale.

After narrowly preventing the destruction of Cold City, PI Bellamy Vale needs a rest. Or rather, he needs a plain and simple vanilla case—no monsters or otherworldly creatures involved!

When foreign businessman Eli Smith shows up at his doorstep with a thick wallet and a request to find his missing sister, Vale doesn’t think twice before agreeing.

If he’d known body-hopping demons and smoke monsters came attached to this job, however, he might have.

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I loved the first book in this series, and the second didn’t disappoint. I hope Bell continues to have more cases and adventures. There is a strong hint at the end of the story that will be more. After all, he is owed a favour…As with the first book, this story starts in the middle of action and hooked me in immediately. As a side note, I love the gadgets—a compass turned to ectoplasmic resonance is very cool. The world building is fabulous and the love the details. Cold City feels very real, as does the supernatural elements of the setting.

The plot kept me turning pages, and I thought the bad guy’s plan was very original. I loved how the author used the legends of the jinn in this story—again this was nicely original from a lot of storylines I’ve read in urban fantasies. I also like although Bell has access to a few tricks of his own, courtesy of his employer Lady McDeath, using them carries a toll and he has to recover. Eli was an interesting character, and I thought it was realistic that he/she really does not get modern slang.

I love Zian. He’s a wonderful character, and I liked the insight that was given into his background and life in this story. Very bittersweet, and his father is an arsehole. I was surprised to learn his age as he comes across as much younger, but then given what he is, that’s understandable too. I thought that it was very apt that he uses Greek death rites for the victims, and that he uses a mix of tech and magic.

The side characters are great too and come alive on the page. I particularly love Tommy who owns the diner that Bell and his friends frequent. Mel and Kennedy are both strong females who are very capable and intelligent and kick arse/hold their own in a fight. I felt for Bell that he can’t explain to Mel what’s really going on and the cost of that in their relationship.

I’d recommend Evil Embers to readers who enjoy urban fantasy with interesting characters, detailed world building, and a story that keeps you turning pages. 5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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