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Title: Law and Murder (Fright Court Book Two) 

Publisher: Book View Cafe

Author: Mindy Klasky

Pages: 288 pp

Price: $14.99 (paperback) / $4.99 (ebook)

The Hook: Sarah Anderson is a sphinx. A descendent of the Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet, she and her kin were created to bring order to the often chaotic realm of the supernatural -- and especially to watch over and protect Sekhmet's other children, the vampires. Officially, Sarah works as a clerk at the Washington DC night court. Unofficially, she works as a clerk at the other Night Court, the one frequented by dryads, centaurs, witches, vampires, and assorted other beings who have learned to hide in plain sight. Unfortunately, while Sarah would like nothing better than to quietly file and annotate and keep the court as neat and orderly as possible, there are forces at work who want to bring down the status quo ... and they have plans for Sarah ....

The Analysis: I won a free digital edition of Law and Murder through LibraryThing. I had previously read and enjoyed (and reviewed) Klasky's Single Witch's Survival Guide, so I decided to give Law and Murder a chance. I was surprised to discover that not only are the two books set in the same fictional universe, but that Law and Murder is actually the third book about Sarah Anderson, after Capitol Magic and Fright Court. Nonetheless, I had no trouble following along. It was easy to figure out how the characters all related to one another, and why they got along (or not), and what their motivations were in regards to Sarah. 

Sarah is a terrific character. She grew up ignorant of her sphinx heritage. She just thought that she had really really bad Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But no, it turns out that her soul-deep need for order is a gift from the Goddess Sekhmet, one which helps Sarah to finally find her place in the world.

Even better, Sekhmet herself appears several times in the story. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that devotees of Sekhmet will be happy.

My only complaints revolve around the romance element in the story, and the religious history. As for the first, Sarah finds herself torn between James (the vampire she is supposed to be protecting) and Christopher (her own sphinx mentor). Sarah's confusion as she bounced between the two men gave me a bad case of whiplash. By the end of the book, she still wasn't sure where she stood with either sekhmetof them and I just wanted to yell, "Pick one already! Or both! That could be fun!"

My second complaint centers around Klasky's equation of various Egyptian and Greek Deities. Historically, of course, that was done. The Greeks (and the Romans after them) were forever comparing, contrasting, equating, and syncretizing the Deities from their respective pantheons. In Law and Murder, the chronology is wonky and some of the correspondences are off. For example:

They [the Greeks] modified gods as well. Osiris, the Egyptian god of death and the afterlife, became Serapis, who in turn transformed into Hades. (page 87)

My people had carried their worship from ancient Egypt to the city-states of Greece. Sekhmet became Athena, the goddess of war. The Mother became Hera, the most powerful of all goddesses. (page 197)

The Verdict: Law and Murder is a fun urban fantasy/murder mystery. While vampires and werewolves make regular appearances in that genre, it was a nice change of pace to see a completely different mythical being -- a sphinx -- take center stage. Even better was the appearance of Sekhmet, ferocious and maternal, a Goddess of war and order and passion.

Recommended to fans of The Medusa Files by Black, Veiled Magic by Blake, The Last Necromancer by Archer, the Ordinary Magic series by Monk, and the Pax Arcana series by James.