End Street Vol. 1 comprises the first two novellas of Amber Kell and R.J. Scott’s End Street Detective Agency series: The Case of the Cupid Curse and The Case of the Wicked Wolf.
In The Case of the Cupid Curse, we meet Sam Enderson who has taken over his uncle’s detective agency following the death of his favorite relative. Sam has has a rough year after finding his now ex-boyfriend in bed with his now ex-best friend and has moved from selling books to gaining his multi-weapon license and becoming a private investigator. While Sam’s uncle was happy to take paranormal cases and honestly, Sam lives in a world where “vampires and werewolves, witches, fae, and pixies . . .all had their own parishes,” Sam is convinced he is human and wants to keep his distance from any paranormal activity. At least, that is until a vampire called Bob wants to rent one of Sam’s apartments, a witch places a curse on Sam, and he finds he has a ghost called Teddy living in his home. Combine this with Sam’s first case, finding the missing third fae of a Triad, leading him to discover the Sirens’ dark motives, Sam’s life is never going to be ‘normal’ again!
In The Case of the Wicked Wolf, Sam’s investigations continue, only this time he teams up with Bob, Smudge (Sam’s newfound familiar), a werewolf, and a demon to locate a missing werewolf girl.
Volume One of Kell and Scott’s End Street Detective Agency series is unlike any other paranormal story I have read. It is not unusual for novels in the genre to feature multiple species of paranormal creatures, but their roles are generally minor and in some cases the different species lose their individual characteristics. In End Street Vol. 1, I actually lost count of the number of paranormals I encountered, but from the brief appearance of the witch in The Case of the Cupid Curse, to Smudge, to Trawl the troll, and Springlilly the Naiad, each character remains true to their species –not only in their physical representation, but their actions and motives too.
Yet, at the center of these novellas is Sam, who has always presumed that he is 100% human and whose prejudice against paranormal beings is quickly becoming neutralized. I wouldn’t say Sam begins as the most likeable character, perhaps because of his repeated dislike of mixing with anyone supernatural, but actually, Kell and Scott use Sam’s close-mindedness as a way of introducing the reader to characters, including Bob:
A vampire here? In the daylight? Sam glanced past the vamp. Yep, the sun shone brightly in the sky.
“Ah, you’re not used to us.” The vampire flashed another smile. “We don’t actually burn up in the sun.”
That’s a shame. That would be one less paranormal to cause trouble.
“Um, do you need an apartment?” Sam had never heard of a vampire living in an apartment. “I thought you people had mansions and crypts and stuff.”
The vampire threw his head back and laughed.
It is the way Kell and Scott’s paranormal characters help Sam to overcome this prejudice that is actually one of my favorite parts of these novellas. Bob does this through the mate bond he shares with Sam, willing to die to protect the human he loves, whilst Mikhail, Hart, the Triad, and Danjal offer their friendship and protection without question, already proving themselves to be more trustworthy than any humans Sam has had in his life.
Though the paranormal theme is clearly strong in End Street Vol. 1, as well as the mystery, Scott and Kell do not forget about the romance. In The Case of the Cupid Curse this is between Sam and Bob, and in The Case of the Wicked Wolf it is rekindled between Hart and Dan. Obviously, both these relationships are cross-species, which again is a topic of interest and for Hart and Dan this raises issues with the Alpha’s pack. Despite Sam’s dislike for paranormals, his relationship with Bob moves quickly. I realize that this is generally the case with novellas and insta-love (or lust) is common in stories where a mate bond exists, but I am not personally a fan of this trope. However, the intensity of the romance in these two novellas and the hotness of the sexual action between the two men only adds to the reader’s enjoyment.
End Street Vol. 1 is exciting and fast-paced and as a choice for Paranormal Week, it was an excellent one, as far as I am concerned. I am a huge fan of paranormal novels anyway, but this volume was a feast for my imagination and I cannot wait to finish the series!