Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly antiques shop, but she is also part of a secret organization that fights to protect the world from supernatural threats. Cassidy has the ability to sense the history of an object through touch, a skill that helps her in both her job with antiques, as well as in fighting dark magic. When Cassidy gets reports of strange murders in town, along with sightings of unusual ghosts and other supernatural entities, it seems clear that something dangerous is going on in Charleston.
Along with the help of her boyfriend, Kell, her shop assistant, Teag, and assorted other friends in the magical world, Cassidy is able to track down the problem to a shipment of magical goods that appear to have been stolen from a cargo ship docked in Charleston. Things take a turn for the worse when they learn that the stolen cargo was likely magical objects owned by a family of dark warlocks. And even worse, the family has a legacy of controlling a demon by locking it away in a box in exchange for power. Cassidy’s group is aided by one of the family descendants who wants to break the family curse and give back the demon power, but the rest of his cousins are determined to stop him and keep their power — through any means necessary. Now, Cassidy and her team must stop the cousins, get control of the demon, and figure out how to safely destroy it, or risk half the east coast being decimated.
Inheritance is the fourth book in Gail Z. Martin’s Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series. Martin also writes m/m urban fantasy romance under the pen name Morgan Brice and many of her books under both names take place in a shared world. Cassidy is cousins with Simon from Brice’s Badlands series, and both Vic and Simon show up here to help with the big fight to get rid of the demon. We also get mentions of Seth Tanner from Brice’s Witchbane series, and folks from her Treasure Trail series also play a role. The connections and cameos add some fun to this story if you are familiar with Brice’s various series, but reading them is not necessary to enjoy or understand Inheritance, nor must you be familiar with the rest of the Deadly Curiosities books to follow along with the basic storyline here. To be clear, this story is urban fantasy, not romance, though Cassidy does have a boyfriend and her friend Teag does as well.
Martin does a nice job building an engaging paranormal mystery and suspense here as Cassidy and her friends slowly come to learn the truth about what is happening in the city. I enjoyed following along with them as they dug into the clues and put the pieces of the puzzle together to learn how all these various ghosts, evil entities, and strange deaths were connected. The author does a nice job in her books of incorporating folklore and history, in this case some of the lore of the Caribbean, and these stories are woven well into the urban fantasy. Martin/Brice is also great about developing the setting and bringing it to life, and once again we get that here with the great detail about Charleston and some of its history. The story has an exciting climax as all the characters fight together to defeat the evil threats and there is some nice intensity and an engaging story.
I did find that things were a little slower for me in the middle, however. I enjoyed the investigation side of things the most here, as Cassidy and the others figured out the big threat and how to stop it. But she also spends a lot of time fighting individual evil entities and it begin to feel a little repetitive over the course of the book, particularly as the encounters all seem to start with a list of all the protective charms and weapons they are carrying, which were pretty much the same each time. I also found myself overwhelmed at times by the sheer number of characters in play. I am sure if I had read the rest of this series, it wouldn’t have been quite so much to manage, but there are so many side characters who help out along the way and I couldn’t even begin to keep track of who they all were and what their particular skills and abilities were. When you add in the side characters mentioned from Martin/Brice’s other series, it just became a whole lot of people. Honestly, as much fun as it was to hear mentions of Seth or Erik, I wondered if it was really necessary to have so many individual players in this story, rather than focusing on a more manageable number. At a certain point, I stopped worrying about who everyone was and just went with it, but I think this could have been streamlined somewhat.
Overall, however, I found this a really engaging story. The paranormal mystery is exciting and Cassidy is a great character. It was fun to see Vic and Simon in this setting and getting to meet Cassidy after hearing about her in other of Martin/Brice’s books. If you are a fan of Brice’s various series, or are just looking for a fun urban fantasy, this is definitely worth checking out.
Note: In addition to the connections noted above, the next Witchbane book (Unholy) is set in Charleston with a major crossover with Cassidy, Teag and their allies. So this is a great choice to check out prior to reading that book.