The bigger they are, the harder they maul.
Immortal not-ghost Wes Cooper and his vampire partner, Hudson Rojas, have it all—rewarding private investigation work, great friends and, most important, a love that’s endured. But ever since Wes sent a demon screaming back to the beyond, his abilities have grown overpowering and overwhelming. He’s hiding the fact that he’s losing control the best he can, but it’s hard to keep anything a secret for long when your partner’s a former cop…and especially when your partner’s a former cop who wants to move in together.
When all hell literally breaks loose in Toronto and superstrength ghosts are unleashed on Wes and his friends, he and Hudson are thrown into a case unlike any they’ve seen before. To save the city, Wes needs to harness his new power…and find some answers. But when he gets them, the solution to fix it all could mean losing everything.
Jenn Burke’s Not Dead Yet earned a place on my keeper shelf earlier this year for many reasons, not least of which were the great storytelling, excellent worldbuilding, memorable characters, snappy dialogue and unusual premise. Wes Cooper was murdered in 1933 by his lover Michael, but was resurrected by Michael’s sister – a witch. Somehow, she overdid it, not only bringing Wes back to life, but making him immortal, which changed his life in many ways apart from the obvious one. He’s made a living as a ‘retrieval specialist’, using his ability to slip between the living plane and the otherplane (which exists between the living and the dead), to sneak in and out of places others cannot access in order to recover items for interested parties. Witnessing a murder while in the otherplane was the kicking off point for Not Dead Yet, which saw Wes reconnect with the love of his life, detective Hudson Rojas, and then work with him to solve the murder, making some truly disturbing discoveries along the way. As Wes and his rag-taggle band of friends and allies fought together to prevent a powerful demon taking corporeal form, something even weirder than usual happened to him, and at the end of the story he realised that his (mostly low-level) magical powers had somehow been increased to a massive degree – and he’s not entirely sure if he’s strong enough to control them.
Give Up the Ghost opens some months after those events, and Wes still hasn’t told Hudson or his best friend, Lexi, what happened to him. It’s not that he’s deliberately holding out on them, it’s just that, what with one thing and another – Hudson’s retirement from the Toronto PD, setting up their new PI agency, settling into being a couple again, Lexi needing to rest following the clean-up after their battle with the demon, and helping their friend, Evan, to come to terms with his part in it – basically, there just hasn’t been a good time. And now, months later, it feels too weird to bring it up. Plus, Wes is a master at avoidance and decides he’s better off not knowing exactly what the Crown of Osiris did to him, because that way he can hide from it. But he’s struggling; not only to keep the secret, but to keep his powers under control and his fears at bay – and it’s taking its toll on him.
A bunch of “weird shit” happening at their local coffee shop is the first clue that something is badly wrong. Wes, Lexi and Evan arrive to discover the place overrun by imps, who must be coming through some sort of crack or portal into the living plane – but from where? Imps don’t exist in the otherplane, so they must be coming from Beyond, the place where spirits pass after death and where demons live – but in order to do that, the imps must have been summoned. But by whom – and why? Before Wes can contemplate that, however, he and the others must seal the breach – and not for the first time, he berates himself for not coming clean about his enhanced magic, as he instead of doing it himself, he has to channel some of his magic into Lexi so that she can close it.
You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.