Following the events that dramatically concluded the previous book in the ongoing Merry Gentry series, Merry, half-human, half-faerie princess of the fae, has returned to Los Angeles with her entourage. She has stepped back from the political turmoil that has had such a devastating effect on her life, and now she's trying for happily-ever-after with the fathers of the twins she is carrying.
She has resumed working for the detective agency that employed her back when she was living incognito in L.A., hiding from the faerie courts. . Now, however, there is no more hiding. Paparazzi are perpetually gathered outside the gates of her residence, and without faerie glamour she can't go anywhere without crowds forming. She is called in to advise the police on a murder case that involves demi-fey, the smallest denizens of faerie, who may be small but pack some very powerful abilities.
The mystery is peripheral, however. The true focus is on Merry's coming to terms with her new situation, out in the human world, and the role that she is going to play. It is evident that despite having left the seelie and unseelie courts to their own devices, Meredith will have to establish her own power base, not to mention her own authority within it - which will not be a simple matter. The Goddess has made it clear that, as most of the sidhe appear unwilling to accept Merry, half-human as she is, as Her avatar for restoring Faerie to power, She is going to expand her powers to the human world. This is an intriguing new development that is sure to have unexpected ramifications.
At times I found myself wondering why the mystery had been included in the plot - as Meredith and her men seemed to dedicate very little time to the solving of it, beyond saying how horrible the deaths are. When the only witness, a demi-fey, runs off, everyone seems to shrug and go about their business until the next murder happens. But I didn't really mind, as I was far more interested to see how Merry was going to juggle the men in her life and establish herself effectively in Los Angeles.
Hamilton's characters are as complex and compelling as ever, and while I didn't find this one quite as compulsively riveting as some of the others, it was still a highly enjoyable read. Readers unfamiliar with this series should be aware that it is best read in order, and that it is meant for an adult audience, as it contains explicit sexuality and not a little violence. Hamilton's world, in which humans and faeries coexist, is rich and sensual, and intricately built. The sidhe have their own distinct culture and morality and are definitely not just humans with a few extra magical things thrown in. As always, I anxiously await the further adventures of Meredith Gentry and her band of "Merry" men.
Books in the Meredith Gentry series:
1. A Kiss of Shadows
2. A Caress of Twilight
3. Seduced by Moonlight
4. A Stroke of Midnight
5. Mistral's Kiss
6. A Lick of Frost
7. Swallowing Darkness
8. Divine Misdemeanors
Divine Misdemeanors (#8 in the Meredith Gentry series) by Laurell K. Hamilton (Ballantine Books, 2009)
Also reviewed at:
Book Series Reviews: "There are so many things that can happen next, and while I admit I'm a bit disappointed that we didn't see some of that in this book, I'm perfectly happy with the things that did happen in this book, and with the plot arcs that I saw starting."
The Good, the Bad and the Unread: "Even with the flaws, this is a very readable book and an interesting entry in the Merry Gentry world."
Tez Says: "The storybook serial kills are fascinating, but they barely get a look in here. Don’t bother buying the hardcover – wait for the paperback, or just borrow the hardcover from the library.