Matt Steinetz is human, but not only is he allowed to know about the paranormal world, he works in it. As an investigator for Quest Investigations, he’s been granted a rare privilege. Of course, Matt doesn’t do anything other than surveillance, putting his skills as a photographer to good use. It’s often boring, but he’s fascinated by all the supernatural beings. But Matt’s also determined to prove his worth, so he doesn’t hesitate to jump in when he’s made lead on his first real case.
Lachlan Brodie has a problem. Someone is leaving dead and stinky herrings on his boat. Due to an eyewitness account, he knows it’s his soon-to-be-ex-husband. Matt immediately begins investigating, and quickly learns that there’s more to the case than first perceived. Matt’s methods aren’t the most conventional, and he gets help in unexpected places. However, things aren’t quite adding up.
When Lachlan is attacked, Matt rushes to his side. But from there, things get even more twisty. When someone winds up dead, all fingers point to Lachlan. Matt feels betrayed, but he knows he has to get to the bottom of things. As the clues finally fall into place, it’ll take some quick action and intervention to get out of the situation alive.
Five Dead Herrings takes place in Russell’s Mythmatched Universe, and is a spin off of the original series. It works fairly well as a standalone, and all pertinent information is given to full understand the tale. I haven’t read any books in the previous series. However, if you’re like me, you might feel a little bit like you’re missing something, as many of the secondary characters played a role in those books. But it is truly not necessary to have read those books to enjoy this one.
And enjoy it I did. Russell infuses her characters with a quirky sense of humor that really works throughout the book. Matt is a human living in the supernatural world, which is kept hidden from mundane humans at all cost. He’s utterly captivated by all things paranormal, eager to learn, and unafraid to ask questions. Russell effectively uses this as a tool to give the reader insight to the world and how things work without it feeling forced or like an info dump. I was drawn in right away, because Matt as a narrator is wholly entertaining.
This story is primarily a mystery with a lot of moving parts, though there is a romantic subplot that seems to continue on through the next books. The mystery, however, is wrapped up neatly. The author does a good job of laying the groundwork. There are definitely some interesting twists in this one, and things aren’t as they seem. But it all plays out well, with a few heart-pounding moments at the end. I was definitely engaged with the mystery, wanting to know the motivation behind it. It all wrapped with a satisfying ending.
Russell does a good job with the world building, and it’s easy to get lost in this tale. I’m definitely looking forward to more. There’s humor and seriousness, as well as engaging characters that keep the story moving forward.