New York cop Tom Halloran grew up as part of one of the city’s tunnel gangs, born into a life of crime. When his family died, Tom turned his life around, becoming a police officer and staying away from his old life. He keeps his past hidden, including the fact that he is a witch and a hexbreaker. But when a shocking murder occurs that seems to have a lot in common with a tragic event from Tom’s past, he knows he has to step in and help with the investigation, even if it means his own secrets may be revealed.
Cicero is a cat shifter and a familiar working for the Metropolitan Witch Police. As an unbonded familiar, he knows time is running out for him to find his witch and eventually he will have to leave the MWP or find someone else to bond with. When another murder occurs, along with the disappearance of another familiar, the MWP pairs Cicero up with Tom to try to combine forces and figure out what is behind the horrible events. As soon as Cicero meets Tom, however, he realizes two things. One, he can’t stand the big, rough around the edges cop. And two, Tom is Cicero’s witch.
Cicero is determined to keep his distance, but he finds that Tom is nothing like he seems on the outside. As the two get deeper into the investigation of the murders, the missing familiar, and the evil hexes, Tom and Cicero begin to grow closer as well. Cicero lets himself open up to the idea of bonding with Tom and the two seem to be moving toward a great future together. But Tom is still hiding secrets that could not only come between them, but see him put in prison. And even if their relationship survives the truth, they still may not make it out with their lives.
Hurray! A new Jordan L. Hawk series! You guys, words can’t explained how much I love her writing and I just adored this new book. Hexbreaker is the first book in her new Hexworld series, but the foundation starts in her short story, The 13th Hex, which is part of the fabulous Charmed & Dangerous anthology (or can be purchased as a standalone). That first book introduces this paranormal world of New York in the late 1800s when witches and familiars exist and hexes are everyday tools that control everything from unlocking doors, to preventing fires, to keeping refrigerators cold. Although this story could stand alone in terms of plot, we get some significant appearances by Dominic and Rook from 13th Hex here and I think you will get more out of this one if you have also read that fabulous short.
One of the many things I love about Hawk is the way she creates fabulous paranormal worlds in the midst of her historical periods. Her books are never heavy handed in terms of creating the setting, but at the same time feel totally rooted in the time period. The paranormal elements are mixed in so seamlessly, it feels perfectly natural to have familiars turning into cats and magical hexes at the same time we are seeing a New York about to become a consolidated city by combining the five Burroughs. There are so many perfect details here with a rich and well developed paranormal world that is so easy to settle into as you are reading. I particularly loved the familiars and the challenges they face in terms of finding their witches.
Along with those elements, we also get a great mystery and suspense story here. The investigation takes lots of twists and turns and the story kept me guessing as to who is behind the plot and why. I loved seeing Tom and Cicero work together and especially enjoyed the scenes that included Dominic and Rook as well.
And of course, I can’t leave out the romance end because this story really is the whole package. It starts off with an enemies to lovers vibe as Cicero wants nothing to do with Tom (though Tom has no idea why). Cicero is kind of cool and arrogant (but somehow in a way that is totally endearing) and I loved seeing him soften as he gets to know Tom and realizes how good and kind the man is. I also loved seeing the more shy, inexperienced Tom open himself up with Cicero. They are such a fun pair, very much oppposites but also so well suited for one another.
So once again Jordan L. Hawk has created another wonderful world and a fabulous start to a new series. I can wholeheartedly recommend to you anything that she has written, but I will definitely tell you to pick up Hexbreaker (and 13th Hex as well if you haven’t read it) as I think she is really onto something special here. I absolutely loved this one and can’t wait for more.