Morgan: Before we get started, I have to apologize because this Dish is going to be a lot less comment-y and whole lot quote-y — but I swear it’s not my fault! The author has amazing passages on just about every page of this book.
Elisa: So true! The language in The Taken is nothing short of stunning. Vicki Pettersson delivers a noir-inspired paranormal romance filled with mystery and intrigue that all adds up to an incredibly fun read!
Morgan: The story opens in Las Vegas, but not the showy floors of the billion dollar casinos or the high-end shops of the strip. Instead we are at a seedy, charge-by-the-hour hotel on the outskirts of the town — where prostitution is the regular.
People created chaos, not places, and they were damned good at it no matter where they lived. And when this glittering gem of a city teamed up with the world’s oldest profession, fantasy piled atop fantasy; it could convince anyone that impulse was a virtue, not a vice.
Elisa: Which is where we find Griffin “Grif” Shaw, a former P.I. turned Centurion —
Morgan: Which is kind of like a custodian of the angel universe.
Elisa: Right, his job isn’t glamorous (it’s often downright messy …) and he doesn’t get the respect he deserves from his fellow celestials, but what he does is necessary.
Morgan: Grif assists the recently (and violently) deceased into the Everlast, delivering them to the Pures, angels who escort mortal spirits into paradise.
Elisa: But his last “Take” goes awry when he’s sent to shepherd the spirit of Nicole Rockwell, an undercover journalist disguised as a lady of the evening who meets her fate trying to bust a prostitution ring.
Morgan: So clearly, this gal is not having her best day. And to make matters worse, she dies dressed in a latex body suit with messy hair.
Elisa: Which she would have to wear all throughout the Afterlife...
Morgan: ...until Grif (proving that he is a real angel of a man) takes pity on her and lets her inhabit her body for just a minute to get dressed in her regular clothes.
Elisa: But even though it’s a nice gesture, this is the business of the Afterlife and all of that, and they don’t take rule breaking lightly. And Grif has just broken a doozy — the recently deceased are not supposed to be allowed to return to their mortal bodies.
Morgan: Grif’s punishment is pretty severe. His wings are ripped off and he is sentenced to live among humans, forced to exist on the Surface somewhere between mortal and celestial.
Elisa: But, that’s not all. While Grif thought Nicole (aka the not-really-a-hooker) was getting dressed, she was actually writing a note to her best friend, fellow journalist Katherine (aka our heroine, Kit) who is waiting for her outside as part of their sting operation.
Morgan: Grif’s mistake with Nicole changes fate and puts Kit’s life in danger.
Elisa: Moving up her death timeline.
Morgan: And this isn't the first time Grif has ridden this bad news merry-go-round.
Elisa: Decades ago, when Grif was a man, he and his wife were murdered and he feels really guilty over his wife’s death.
Morgan: Something that I might tell the man to get over, I mean he’s not really responsible for it. But it does lend him even more motivation to make things right for Kit.
Elisa: And saving her isn’t such a burden, I mean, it comes with some extra perks.
Morgan: Yes, Kit is smart, sassy and not to mention a total knockout.
[T]his woman was a full-fledged screen siren. Even from a distance, he could make out silky sable hair pulled back from sky-high cheekbones. They rode a round, sculpted face with lips ticked at the center of it like full, pink cushions. And that shape, he thought, as she stepped from the car. Curves like he hadn’t seen on a woman in decades. more hairpins than Mulholland Drive, every sweeping stretch draped in red silk, shimmering in places that made his mouth go dry.
Elisa: Kit’s rocking — and I do mean rocking — a rockabilly style, a throwback to the 1950s.
Morgan: Something which not everyone in her life understands. In fact, her look is often criticized by her ex-husband and family.
Elisa: Well, her outfits definitely do stand out; they set her apart from the rest of her family, for sure.
Morgan: But it’s not just classic dresses and Bettie Page bangs, it’s also “ ... vintage cars, hot rods. Pinup girls. Mid-mod home decor. Cigarettes. It’s a way of living.” Kit considers rockabilly culture a “celebration of the senses,” paying close attention to what you wear, way of speaking …
Elisa: And Grif loves it, probably because he lived through the 1950s, and considers Kit’s way of life to be a comforting reminder of a better period in his life.
[T]he outfit looked like a throwback to his time, when women wore clothes that made them look like walking gifts instead of unwrapped packages.
Morgan: Can I just pause for a moment and say that Grif is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G? If an attractive man compared me to a walking gift, you would not see me complaining.
Elisa: Me neither, and the acceptance he gives her is very different from what Kit’s used to getting.
Morgan: Like her ex-husband for one? He is narrow-minded and a snob thinking that her “... June Cleaver dress, Bettie Page bangs. The Hayworth face paint. The stupid car...” all make it hard to take her seriously.
Elisa: Thankfully, Kit doesn’t let him or any of the other haters get to her. She believes people will take her seriously when she breaks the story about a high-end illegal brothel that a bunch of Nevada political officials visit.
Morgan: Which is kind of sad when you think about it. Because if her family had just accepted her, she might not have chased the story that led to her best friend’s death, and put her own life at risk.
Elisa: Well, Kit is luckier than her best friend, because the sting-gone-wrong wasn’t the end of her story. Instead she walks away alive but soon because of her poking into the story she’s dealing with home invaders who are threatening her life.
Morgan: But it’s Grif to the rescue, because he knows that Kit isn’t supposed to die and he won’t let her. Could that guy be any more of a dream?
Elisa: Well, except for the whole fallen angel, not-quite-human thing, which he initially hides from Kit after he saves her …
Morgan: Hey, everybody’s got secrets!
Elisa: Yeah but Kit is determined to figure them out — something she’s not half bad at.
Morgan: Which gets Grif to thinking that they might be a really good team. Together they can try to reveal the prostitution ring scandal, unmask Nicole’s murderer and potentially discover who is responsible for Griffin’s death all those years ago.
Want to find out what happens when this perfect pair goes snooping? You’ll have to pick up your own copy of The Taken, available now! And for more irresistible fallen angels, visit our Everything Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Page.