Book: Under Wraps
Author: Hannah Jayne
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Release Date: Out Now!!!
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Hannah Jayne’s light-hearted debut Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles Under Wraps centers on breather Sophie Lawson a seer (who has yet to come into her powers) and who works in the rather unusual UDA, 37 floors below the San Francisco Police Department. Beneath the hilly streets of above, the UDA handles the immigration, immersion, law and enforcement, inter-species disputes, and general hub of the Underworld population. Think MIB but for the Underworld or the civil servant office in Beetlejuice.
When the Underworld becomes plagued with a series of ritualistic murders, and Sophie’s boss, UDA Chief Pete Sampson goes missing, Sophie is asked to liaise with SFPD detective Parker Hayes (aka Alex Grace) on tracking down the killer or killers. Sparks fly with Parker and Sophie throughout its frothy pages and the mystery behind who and what Parker is a great draw. As is the slowly evolving sub-plot behind Sophie’s heritage that Jayne cannily sprinkles breadcrumbs about throughout the book.
Under Wraps is backed by a cast of quirky characters that kept me laughing, (my favorite being Steve the Troll), Vlad…the wannabe Impaler (who belongs to The Vampire Empowerment and Restoration Movement aka VERM), and a plethora of “fanpires” that will make readers smile, and smile often. And characterization might be the high point here compared to the plot(s) which is slow to develop.
So what makes Under Wraps different from other urban fantasies? Jayne’s strength is her quirky style, witticisms, and plentiful characterizations which remind me of Jayne Ann Krentz in the early days, and Dakota Cassidy’s immensely funny characters. Also, Jayne capitalizes on the innocent with her heroine and her attraction to Parker which is strictly PG-13. Sophie Lawson is not a femme fatale…but is shy, modest, and doesn’t have a problem clinging to big, strong Parker when they are fighting off the denizens of San Francisco’s Underworld. Parker and Sophie’s romance is like melting chocolate…pure, sweet, velvety and a nice change from the over-loaded passionate encounters that readers might be used to.
Jayne’s second offering to the series is out in November with Under Ground…which takes off from the cliffhanger that she thrusts readers at the end of Under Wraps…a rather titillating loose end…the revelation of Sophie’s heritage, and perhaps an explanation about how Pete Sampson was involved in it…which brings us back to the major clue that Jayne drops when Pete psychically connects with Sophie…
Under Wraps will appeal highly to fans of Michele Bardsley, Michelle Rowen, Dakota Cassidy and Molly Harper.
A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)