review: twilight heart

Twilight Heart by Adam J. Wright (2019)

Twilight Heart is the seventh book in Adam J. Wright’s Harbinger P.I. urban fantasy series. If you haven’t read the previous books in this series, I strongly recommend checking out my review of the first book here before reading on. Spoilers are ahead if you’ve not read the previous books. You’ve been warned.

Do you ever make it to the middle of a book series (or a television show for that matter) where you’re invested in the story enough to want to know how it ends, but you’re losing the excitement you had at the very beginning? That’s how I’m starting to feel about the Harbinger P.I. series. I’m going to keep reading because I want to know how it ends, but I just don’t get the same high satisfaction from each new book in the series that the first few books gave me. Here’s my take on book seven, Twilight Heart.

In general, the books in this series take the same kind of “case-of-the-week” approach you find in shows like Supernatural. In Twilight Heart, there are two cases to be solved (I’ll get to why that is in just a moment). The first involves a subplot that has lingered for several books now, namely Mallory being cursed to die one year after destroying the heart inside of the Box of Midnight and her current possession by the Egyptian sorceress, Tia. Alec’s thread of the story revolves around an attempt to break Mallory’s curse and free her from Tia’s possession, while he also deals with a side-plot that finds him eradicating a nest of ghouls who have taken up residence in tunnels beneath one of the local cemeteries. This little side-plot has seeds of something more sinister due to an injury Alec sustains while hunting the ghouls, an injury that he calls on Merlin to help him heal and which in turn reveals the enchantment etched onto his bones to the wizard. Given Merlin’s reaction to this news, I expect this to re-surface in future books and for there to be some significance to what superficially appears to be an arbitrary plot thread. The second case arises from a surprising development that happens early in the story—Felicity has earned a promotion and is now a full P.I. for the Society. Her promotion, however, comes with a personal cost—her post is in Manchester, England. Upon arriving, she immediately has a client who needs her help dealing with the ghost of her mother, a woman who was murdered and whose murderer has yet to be found. Thus, the action of the story is involved with solving these two cases, with Alec doing his own thing along with the help of Leon, Michael, Amy Cantrell, Mallory and the Blackwell Sisters, and Felicity doing her own thing sans a Scooby gang of her own.

The thing about both of these cases is that neither one is particularly compelling and the mysteries feel…flimsy and all too easy to solve. Consequently, it feels like the characters themselves are simply going through the motions. Wright has continued the style of alternating the POV between Alec and Felicity, something he started in book four of the series (Dead Ground). The need for this alternating POV is clear—he has Alec and Felicity following separate paths, and what happens to her as she’s moving through her separate plot sequence is important for the reader to know because it (eventually) connects back to the overarching plot for the entire series—the disappearance of Alec’s father, the revelation that Alec’s mother is a member of the Midnight Cabal, and the secret of the enchantment on Alec’s bones and what his newfound powers are all about. Plus the new mystery revolving around his connection to the infamous sword, Excalibur. Indeed, it is the mysteries that exist in the overarching plot that continue to hold my interest, and while Twilight Heart does offer some new clues about what is going on—we learn important pieces of information about both of Alec’s parents and as I mentioned above, it appears that Merlin will become a source of information about Alec himself—I, too, feel like the characters and am just going through the motions of the case of the week in hopes of my investment being paid off in the end.

One last word about the supporting cast of characters. If you’ve read my previous reviews, then you know that I’ve always found Mallory to be the most interesting of the supporting characters. While Twilight Heart, in part, gives me some closure where her story is concerned (her pursuit of Mr. Scary is still unresolved), she is not nearly as interesting as she was early in the series. I think this is unfortunate and a missed opportunity for the author (and, of course, the reader). The supporting cast has grown to be two-dimensional, existing in the story with no other purpose than to play their roles and push the story forward. There’s no real depth to any of them, and it’s disappointing because I had been expecting a lot more in terms of character development after finishing the first few books in the series.

I’ll keep reading this series, but I have to admit my excitement has waned. If you have gotten this far in the series, I’d say keep reading, especially if what I’ve read is true and there will only be ten books in this series. The books are light, quick reads and a good option if you want a shorter read and don’t necessarily know what you want to read next (or am the only one that this happens to?). On a budget? As of this writing, all of the books in the Harbinger P.I. series are available through Kindle Unlimited, but I haven’t found them in my local library’s catalog of ebooks. If you’re not a subscriber, the books will cost you about $4 each. Early in this series I would have said each one was totally worth your book dollars. Now I’m reserving my opinion on that until I get to the end of the series and see how Wright pays off the promise in the early books.

Have you read Twilight Heart or the previous books in the Harbinger, P.I. series? What do you think?

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