[Review] IN A FIX by Linda Grimes

Linda Grimes

Cover Copy: Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable… that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.

Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.

My Thoughts:  Ciel Halligan is far from perfect. She’s adventurous and ambitious. Mistakes happen. Situations get awkward, even dangerous. She reminded me a lot of Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich’s Plum series. Which is a good thing. I like a flawed character who grows up some by the end of the story.

Ciel’s assignment is to get a marriage proposal out of her client’s boyfriend. So she assumes her client’s aura and poses as her on an island getaway with the gorgeous boyfriend. Ciel grapples with the morals of sleeping with her client’s boyfriend. It would be expected, right? But also morally wrong. Here’s where Ciel’s adventurous personality steps in, and she decides to go for it– until karma explodes around her, and Ciel faces a couple of interesting twists, including a neighbour who closely resembles the Queen of England. (I loved this character!)

Ciel ends up in Sweden, where she has to escape and fight hordes of angry Vikings. It was nice to see a different country and culture feature in urban fantasy in a different way. Don’t expect to see swords or dwarves or elves or anything resembling Middle Earth. The only magic here is the ability to assume another person’s aura. The only non-humans here are the aura adaptors– shapeshifters that aren’t quite like the shapeshifters we’re used to. If anything, they’re more like really good actors with a little something extra in the make-up department.

Then there’s the guys. Ciel’s feelings are tangled up between Billy, the friend she’s known forever and Mark, hot CIA agent who is friends with her brother. Both want Ciel safe and practically smother her with their manly protection. I was so glad to see Ciel not put up with this behaviour for long. Though she may be clumsy and inexperienced, she’s not stupid or completely incapable. (Don’t expect her to be kicking butt, though. She’s not there yet. I have a feeling if we stick with Ciel, she’ll be kicking butt in future installments.)

I did find the first half of the story to be a little slower than the beginning and the ending. It felt like the pacing was struggling to find its feet. But the premise was enough to pull me through.

IN A FIX is not short on action. There’s plenty of explosions, kidnapping, and gunfire to keep you reading late into the night. Grimes’s writing is witty and smooth. You just might find yourself laughing out loud.

If you like action, adventure and witty writing combined with a little romance, IN A FIX is for you.

Rating: A-
Series: In a Fix, #1
Publisher: Tor Books, Sept 2012
Acquired: NetGalley

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[Note: at the time of this review, this book was not available at Kobo or the Sony ebook store.]