Will a dark history doom their future together?
New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.
Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.
Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.
But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.
If you’ve followed my reviews, you’ll know I’m a HUGE Jordan L. Hawk fan. Before her, I could not read horror in any aspect. Now I crave it if it comes from her.
I first read about Hexworld in book 0.5, The 13th Hex. Loved Rook and Dominic. But when I first bought Hexbreaker, I started hitting breaks. I was confused – not so much with the story, but with how little knowledge I had, or still have, about hexes. When the audiobook came out, I got it because A: I love Tristan James’s voice and B: sometimes books that are hard for me to read are easier in audio format.
Hexmaker, book 2 has since come out and I have the book. Now that I’ve finished book 1, I look forward to reading it. Or is that devouring it?
But it wasn’t until I bought A Christmas Hex and once again fell in love with Hawk’s characters that I knuckled down and finished Hexbreaker (I was at 25% and listened to the rest over two nights). While I’m still not sure about hexes –how they work or what they really are except some sort of spell, I fricking LOVED Hexbreaker. Some of it brought me back to the wonder and excitement I felt when reading Widdershins for the first time.
Both Tom and Cicero were characters with incredible depth. There were two scenes that started to sound a lot like something from Widdershins, but Hawk sent them in such different directions that it was like WOW. Love the gritty telling of the human police vs the coven and the underhanded dealings. And the entire feel of the book is of the late 1800s. You feel like you’re there… except it’s an 1890s with hexing capability.
Tom is a human policeman with a secret. When he’s forced to work with cat familiar Cicero on a case, that secret is in danger of being outed. I loved the descriptions of Cicero’s actions and movements, of his very personality. The cat in human form. Of Tom who thinks little of himself due to his past and yet at his core is not the man he thinks he is. In many ways, it’s a story about two people becoming their best selves by having the worst part of who they are put out where they can’t hide it anymore.
There are shifters: familiars who shift from human to animal form and their witches. A familiar must bond with a witch for that witch to use their powers. And there is always one witch who will work best for every familiar. But what’s a familiar supposed to do when an unscrupulous witch cages them and forces them to bond? It’s part of the grit of this world.
It’s not pretty.
It’s cold and bad things happen to good people.
But the heroes come through in the end, even if they go through their own kind of horror in the meantime.
And let me say that I love that Hawk doesn’t drop all the cards on the table at once. That’s the way a suspenseful book should be.
(And I hope there will be a story with an HEA for a certain mastiff at some point. Hint. Hint. Nudge. Nudge.)
Tristan James did such an exceptional job at the narration that I don’t know where to start. His voices were amazing. I’ve heard him before and have enjoyed the books he’s narrated. He does really well with accents. There was only once while I was listening that I wondered who was talking when Cicero and Tom were talking. But that was once in a long book. And there were a lot of different voices and each one sounded different.
Now I’m anxiously waiting for book 2 to be in audioformat. 🙂
5 stars for both the story and the audio. I’d give them 10 if I could.
Story Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Combined Rating: 5 stars