Publication Date: Aug 2, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy
“My name is Tess Little. But everyone calls me Red.”
Once upon a time, a spell went awry, stranding Make Believe characters in the ordinary world. Since then, Tess “Red” Little—a/k/a Little Red Riding Hood—has worked as an Enforcer for the Chicago branch of the Fairytale Management Authority. But, consider yourself warned—she’s not just some waif with a basket of goodies. All grown up and with nothing to lose, a gun and combat boots is more her style. And Red’s new assignment threatens to be short on happily ever afters…
Someone is murdering transplanted Tales in gruesome fashion. The list of fictional characters capable of such grisly acts is short and includes more than one of Red’s old flames. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s another complication, in the form of sexy, enigmatic Nate Grimm, the FMA’s lead detective and part-time Reaper. Used to following her own rules and living life on the edge, Red has managed to avoid taking on a partner until now. But Nate’s dark side makes him perfect for a case like this. That is, if she can trust him. Because if there’s one thing Red knows for sure, it’s that believing in the wrong person can have big, bad consequences…
I was immediately attracted to this book by the simple, but somewhat mysterious title. “Red” can encompass many things, so when I first saw the cover I had to know what the title was referring to. To my surprise, I discovered that Red is the all grown-up version of Little Red Riding Hood, but instead of the basket and cape, she wears combat boots and carries a loaded gun. In SeRine’s (pronounced “serene”) urban fantasy world, all the beloved fairytale characters we cut our teeth on as children, have been transplanted from their fantasy world into ours – haphazardly and without their permission. A very famous genie (guess which movie!) and a fairy godmother got into an ego match about who could perform better spells, and they ended up making a royal muck of things. Tales are scattered among the Ordinaries, pretending to be human and doing their best to adapt to this strange new world. For those Tales that have trouble assimilating, the Fairytale Management Authority sends out Enforcers like Red to bring them in for some, er, “rehabilitation”.
Red normally only bags and tags, but there are Tales being brutally murdered around the city and the detective in charge, Nate Grimm (the local reaper), recruits Red to partner him in solving the case. After all, the top three suspects are all her past lovers, so Nate figures that Red would know them best. As the violence escalates and Nate and Red get closer to discovering the truth, their friends and family are being targeted and the case just got personal.
Red ROCKED! The writing was smart and clever, and I really enjoyed SeRine’s voice. She had a unique way of stringing ordinary words together to make them witty and meaningful. I loved everything about Red’s character. She was one of the first to be transplanted and because they’re immortal, she’s been living among the Ordinaries for a long time. I can imagine that a person would get bored after awhile, but she genuinely enjoyed her job and was dang good at it. She certainly wasn’t shy about sex, and I think most of the male characters introduced in the book were a lovers of hers at one point. Well, except Nate, but that was soon remedied. She was tough when she needed to be, but she had a soft side for her friends and family which made her all the more endearing. Her best friend was Elizabeth Bennett-Darcy (squee!), who was a part of the Lit Migration of 2000. Apparently Mr. Darcy is having a bit of trouble leaving Pemberley behind.
The romance between Red and Nate was sweet, but tame. The few love scenes in the story were very PG, just in case that’s something you like to avoid in your reading. The main part of the story was the case of the murdered Tales, and it was mysterious and suspenseful. I had no idea who the culprit was, and I enjoyed sitting back and watching Nate and Red work their magic. They worked well together professionally, as well as personally, and I thought the chemistry between the two was really well-written.
My Summary: I highly recommend Red. While the writing was excellent, it was also fun to play the “Who’s Who” of the Tales. A few favorites showed up: Snow White, Cinderella and Prince Charming, the Wolf in Red’s story and Aladdin. They all, of course, have more Ordinary names now and are working in professions close to what their stories were about. I really loved the idea of having all the Tales thrown together in the Ordinary world, and Red turned out to be a huge success!
My Rating: A