Club Nexus: Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective (Unabridged)
by E. J. Stevens
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A demon, an Unseelie faerie, and a vampire walk into a bar... This Ivy Granger anthology contains short stories set in Club Nexus, the hidden haunt of Harborsmouth's paranormal underworld. "Iced": A bargain gone wrong leads a highborn Unseelie faerie to life as an enslaved bartender with a taste for revenge. "Dusted": Being a highly skilled predator doesn't necessarily put you at the top of the food chain at Club Nexus. A southern vampire with a hankering for blood and wanton violence may have bit off more than he can chew. "Demonized": The demon attorney we love to hate has his eye on a certain rockabilly human. Too bad she's brought a crossbow loaded with holy-water-dipped bolts for this night on the town. "Jinxed": Just when Jinx needs a carefree girl's night out with Ivy, a smoking-hot demon tries to buy her a drink. She really is the unluckiest human on the planet.
A few hours in Club Nexus...
The introduction here is to tell us of Club Nexus. I like this change (as it's where the stories take place) from the usual ad for Harborsmouth and Ivy Granger Detective Agency. It's a quick telling of rules and of Mr. Goodfellow's connection here. Sets the stage and tells us of Club Nexus more than we learned in Ghost Light.
The four stories are all of the same time within Club Nexus but from four different views. Each view brings in new information about the characters and events that take place in Club Nexus. I like how these stories all intersect yet are different and bring us one step further with each ending. We learn something new in the events of the night we are living through.
In listening to these stories, I almost forgot Traci was reading them to me. That's a good thing! The story took over and the narrator blended into the story. She does a wonderful job of slipping into the different characters. She even drops her tone to project a male image with a slight accent.
All the stories are in the first person though. But as short stories it works well. And Traci using different voices and taking on each character makes the first person fit to the stories.
Over all, I very much enjoyed these four stories.
She's a high born of the Unseelie Court tricked into her position as bartender at Club Nexus by Puck, and she's finally ready to feel freedom again.
The take on Puck is interesting. I like the dark side that shows up here. Club Nexus is darker than the dim lights inside. Puck has interactions with vampires inside his club.
What caught my attention is a woman in a dark blue cloak that makes a secretive appearance and talks to our bartender. I'm surprised to see her presence in the story and curious if we will have interactions with her in the future. For her to be dropped in here, after all this time, I'm thinking we will get to see her in Ivy's full length novel at some point.
I did also enjoy the actions that our Unseelie bartender takes. And the results of them.
Cyrus is part of Bite Club and here at Club Nexus for the special Bite Club meetings that Puck holds here. Puck's made it easy to have repeated Bite Club events as opposed to the rules the Vampire Council has.
Through Cyrus we get a view into the Vampire ways in this fey world. Again, I'm curious if we will have more interactions with the vampires now that we know a bit more about them and their feeding.
We get the pieces of conversation the bartender missed and more details. The ending is still jaw dropping as we end with Cyrus, which also leads us into Jinx's story next.
Jinx is frustrated that the demon had to walk into Club Nexus, tonight. That's the start of her troubles, along with learning of something happening here at the club that she wants to stop.
Oh Jinx, oh Jinx. We see her feelings about Forneus and the frustration she is feeling up close as we get the story through Jinx's POV. Jinx has a great read on people. She gets a feel that's good or bad and sticks with it. I like her for that. Jinx sounds a little airy, but she's far from it.
Oh the ending to this one! You will be shocked to learn what happens. lol. Oh yes.
I very much enjoyed the narrators voices in this story. There are different characters and she makes them all distinct for us.
Forneus has a strong attraction to a human female. She's stirred something in him and he can't let her, his love, walk into Club Nexus without some protection.
Forneus is peaked by Puck and what he's up too, especially after he sees what he tries to do to Jinx. Forneus will not stand for it at all.
Forneus's story feels a bit different in it's telling. I feel like it's set in the past, like Forneus is telling the story after it's happened. There were moments in this story that I drifted away at because it felt as if it was repeated from the previous three stories. Forneus's voice used is even drawn out and I got a bit bored with listening. I even found a small error in where his arm was placed by what he said he did and what Jinx said he did in her story.
But! When the story took on a new part that we didn't hear previously, I was spot on listening to what happened. Oh and the end! Oh Forneus, you have my sympathy. I understand. And I suspect that Ivy is going to have some dealings with the demon attorney very soon.