Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spirit Dances by C.E. Murphy (5 Stars)

Spirit Dances by C.E. Murphy is the sixth book in her Walker Papers series. The series revolves around Joanne Walker. In the first book, Joanne has no clue what she is. She works as a mechanic for the police, although she has trained to be a cop. That all ends when she sees a woman attacked on the ground from a plane in the air (something that is impossible). And she is forced to face the reality that she is a shaman. She's not exactly happy about it.

Over the course of the series, Joanne grows into her powers and learns to accept who she is. She discovers a lot about her past that she'd blocked out after a traumatic incident. She also grows closer to her boss, Morrison, although neither one of them will do anything about it because of that. Yet, through it all, Morrison is the one that always seems to be there to help her through the difficulties she faces. There are some wonderful quirky characters in this series - Gary, the cab driver who picks her up in the first book & becomes her friend. Billy, her cross dressing partner.

By the time you hit Spirit Dances, Joanne is a shaman and comfortable in her skin. That's not to say she doesn't have anything to learn -- she's got a long way to go. But she's accepted her destiny and it shows.

Spirit Dances starts out with Joanne being forced to shoot a woman during a domestic incident call in order to save Billy - which goes against everything she believes in. Then she accidentally asks Morrison to attend the theatre with her and ooh boy, you think they're going to finally kiss. Instead, a whole series of disastrous things happen that keep her running from place to place as she tries to save the day. The end of this book took my breath away. The last sentence was a shocker. I had to go back and reread it a couple of times for it to sink in. I think I'm traumatized by what was revealed. (And I loved it! - even if I'm devastated...)

This series doesn't get the publicity it deserves. It's one I've been following for a long time. But when I bought the first book, I bought it on a whim because I liked the cover & I'm a sucker for trade paperbacks. After reading the first book, I had to hunt down the next two because no one around me carried them (and I have 9 bookstores within 30 mins. of me!). I ended up having to buy them thru Amazon. I'm happy to say the last three books have been at my local stores, tho not in great numbers. It's just sad.

Each book in the Walker Papers series from Urban Shaman (the first book) draws you deeper into Joanne's world as more and more of her is revealed. You'll cringe at her mistakes and cheer for her triumphs. And I promise you'll be just as nuts as me wanting her and Morrison to just go for it.

These books get progressively better. Joanne (the unenlightened Joanne) pissed me off a bit. I wanted her to stop being difficult and learn. But as she grows, I liked her more and more. I love Morrison and their interactions. Gary is a wonderful character who adds a level head and a sense of humor. Billy cracks me up. And his family is this calm in the storm that is Joanne. The world that C.E. Murphy creates is well thought-out and fascinating. She draws on both Native American and Irish culture, which mixes surprisingly well. This book was my favorite of the series so far. I give it 5 stars.

Definitely a series worth owning.

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