Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw
Orbit Books 2017
An entertaining read about a doctor who treats the maladies of London's supernatural underworld
*A copy of this book was provided by Orbit Books in exchange for a review*
With the onset of fall (or at least pretending it's fall in Southern California), now is the perfect time to cozy up with a warm cup of coffee, a comfy sweater, and an entertaining paranormal book.
Enter State Left: Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw
This is the first book in an on going series about Greta Helsing (yes she's related to that Helsing). Greta owns her own medical practice, passed on to her from her father, which caters to a very particular group in the London society. From "vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies", Greta has her hands full with numerous patients who have let this very-much-alive human to live a "supernatural-adjacent life". On top of this the 'Rosary Ripper', a foul serial killer(s) is causing fear and havoc throughout London for the alive and the undead alike.
Honestly, this cozy paranormal murder mystery is so much fun. Shaw, in my opinion, really thought about how to build a hidden supernatural society among the everyday life of normal Londoners. Greta runs a low-funded clinic and needs new equipment, her vampire friend Ruthven need hobbies and activities to stave of vampire melancholia from centuries of being undead, etc. I love that Shaw has included all kinds of creatures that have all kinds of ailments. Additionally, I found the murderous villain fascinating and loved the snapshots of the various characters throughout the book, which included the villain.
Additionally, I appreciated that this was an urban fantasy that was not heavy handed on romance. Don't get me wrong, I love a good love story, however, romance isn't a genre I typically read. There's a small love interest storyline but it does not take precedent. The cast of characters is great and I did feel a connection to each one. Shaw seemed to have a nice balance between them all. While Greta is our main protagonist, the other revolving characters are richly drawn and dynamic.
I highly recommend this romp through London. As mentioned previously this is the first book so I expect we will see Greta and her merry band of ghouls soon.