Infernal Enchantment by Helen Harper

Series: Firebrand book #2
Publication date: 3 September 2020
Warnings: Mild violence

A gruesome case of grave robbing lands on Detective Constable Emma Bellamy’s desk.  But is there more to it than meets the eye? 

Being the sole police detective in London’s Supernatural Squad is no easy task. I have to navigate my way through a world teeming with supernatural creatures, from vampires to werewolves and everything else in between. My inexperience might count against me but my own shocking supernatural abilities will stand me in good stead – especially when I’m confronted yet again by the gruesome spectre of death…

A vampire has been mysteriously killed in the centre of the city.

Werewolf graves have been plundered for their bodies.

And I think I might be developing an ill-advised crush on a certain black eyed vampire Lord.

Infernal Enchantment is the second instalment in Helen Harper’s Firebrand series. And I LOVED it. This story picked up where book one – Brimstone Bound – left off and it really kept up the pace set by the first book. (To have a look at my review of Brimstone bound, click here.)

If you’re heading towards reading Infernal Enchantment without having read Brimstone Bound first, I recommend you reconsider. While you could read this one without having previously read from the start of the series, I doubt that you would pick up on all the little nuances throughout the book that refer back to earlier parts of the story, often amusingly. And there are plenty of not-so-subtle parts that just flat-out assume you know what is being referred to, with no explanations offered.

Emma Bellamy is our heroine in this series and she has recently graduated to the rank of detective in the London police. She works in the ‘Supe Squad’, where she is the sole detective in the department.

Emma is working hard to gain credibility for herself and the department, while also battling to deal with her new-found ability to come back from the dead! She has died multiple times in just the last few weeks, but on each occasion, 12 hours later, there she is – back up and running again. And she doesn’t understand how or why.

It has been fun to watch Emma as she starts growing into her role of detective, as well as beginning to take on the role of a leader. She is learning how to encourage and lift her colleagues, at the same time as she is learning how to deal with the influence and responsibility that comes with her new role as detective. I felt a bit like a proud parent in parts, as I watched her stumble a few times, but pick herself up and keep going. I also enjoyed watching her development within herself as she gained in awareness and self-confidence.

All throughout Emma’s adventures, her very dry sense of humour & her ‘straight faced’ observations of absurd things keep popping up. (Helen Harper is fantastic at weaving humour – laugh out loud style – into the oddest spots.) My snickering drew a few odd looks from the people around me on the train when I was reading a part where she went back to the scene of one of her previous ‘deaths’, to try to talk to a priest who was there at the time that it happened.

“He swung the door open wide, jumped out and thrust a wooden crucifix towards me with a sharp yell. I remained where I was. He slammed the crucifix against my chest. Unfortunately for him, I didn’t writhe, or scream, or spontaneously combust. ‘Begone, demon!’ he shouted. ‘Good afternoon,’ I said politely.”

Can’t you just picture the poor man? There he is, shaking like a leaf, while she just stands patiently waiting for him. I could see his fear, and her long-suffering expression. (I probably shouldn’t laugh at him being scared, but I did anyway.)

Another thing I love about this character is her wry self-introspection. “I forced a smile. It was still early afternoon and the sun was shining. I supposed there was no time like the present to revisit the scene of my own death and investigate a grisly case of corpse-munching at the same time. I liked my job, I told myself. Honest.”

While all of her ‘detecting’ is going on in the foreground of the story, we still have the slow burn going on in the background, between Emma and Lukas (aka Lord Horvath). Although, I did get a bit impatient this time, waiting for Lukas to start having a significant part of this story. He doesn’t really play much of a part for a while. And I didn’t feel that we really got to learn anything more of significance about him in this book. But we definitely are seeing him start to show a clearer intent in the way that he is interacting with Emma.

This is book two in the series. The third book, Midnight Smoke, is due to be released on November 5th 2020 and I can’t wait! As far as I’m concerned, both of the books in the series so far have been hard to put down and I have thoroughly enjoyed them both. Hurry up November 5th!

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