In the aftermath of the battle for faerie, Merry Gentry was crowned twice by the Goddess, once as Queen of the Slaugh Court, and then again as the Queen of the Unseelie Court, following the death of her cousin Cel. She gave up her crowns to save the life of one of her friends, Frost, so that he could return to his fae form from the stag he had been sentenced to be.
After renouncing the crowns, Merry and her friends went into self-imposed exile, back to Los Angeles, where she had spent most of her life before becoming entangled with the fae courts. She is now pregnant, and four fathers have been confirmed: Doyle, Frost, Sholto and Mistral. The Unseelie Court is still ruled by her aunt, and she is not exactly wanted back in Faerie, and that suits Merry just fine.
She has taken up her life as a private detective once more, and is quickly involved in a serial killer case where the victims are all demi-fey. Someone is duplicating scenes from children’s books, and dressing and arranging the victims to match the scene. Gruesome and twisted, the killer obviously has something against the demi-fey.
In a world where Faerie has blended with human society, it is not unusual for humans to have contact with the Fey, and the demi-fey, the ones most closely associated with Faerie by the average human, are no exception. Many of them left Faerie when Merry did, and have taken up lives outside of Faerie, and when the first victims are demi-fey attuned to nature and flowers, it strikes a chord within Merry.
It may be that Merry is still feeling guilty for leaving Faerie to her aunt and uncle’s not so tender mercies, or she’s regretting giving up the crown. In any case, she is determined to find out who is killing those that were loyal to her and exiled themselves in the human world. Ghosts from the past rear up their ugly heads as well, when she spots a man who was in league with human wizards in the past. Together they had plotted to steal the magic and souls of Fey, and had almost raped and killed her before her men were able to rescue her. To see one of them near a crime scene fills her with fear, and further drives her to find the killer or killers of the demi-fey.
This book is an excellent return to the merged world of Fey and Human that many thought had ended with the final battle between Cel and Merry. I, for one, am glad they are back, and just like her other series with Anita Blake, Merry Gentry is a lovable and well-drawn character, whose exploits resonate with the reader. Welcome back, Merry, and well done, Ms. Hamilton.