I’ve been a fan of Deborah Blake’s novels for a while now, and Wickedly Dangerous is her first traditionally published book, so here is my opinion:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Baba Yaga is a Russian folktale – a wicked old crone who lives in a house that runs around on chicken’s legs, flies across the sky in a giant mortar whilst wielding a pestle, and has a dragon called Chudo Yudo as companion. She may, or may not be either good or evil.
Only that’s all a fairytale. ‘Baba Yaga’ is really a title, and there are currently three of them living in the US, helping out where they are asked and keeping an eye on ecological issues.
This book is about one of them: Barbara Yager, a herbalist travelling the country in an Airstream trailer that has a mind of its own when it comes to decor – and the contents of its fridge. It also contains a door to the otherworld, and a giant pit bull called, you guessed it, Chudo Yudo. And yes, he can talk and yes, he really is a dragon in disguise.
Called by a Russian grandmother when a child goes missing, Barbara discovers that this child is not the first abductee, and with no clues as to what’s happened to them, or who might be taking them, the local sheriff, the delightful Liam, is at his wits end. It doesn’t help that he’s still mourning the death of his own child and the belief that his missing wife is probably dead somewhere of an overdose.
After a little persuasion, Barbara starts digging, and at first, even though clues are scant, things seem to be moving along smoothly. And then it all starts to go horribly wrong.
‘Wickedly Dangerous’ is a light paranormal romance, with wonderful characters, vividly told with just the right amount of action, emotion, and humour, and with a perfect little twist at the end that left me smiling and satisfied. Just what I want from a book of this genre, when there is a certain amount of inevitability built into the story by its classification.
I’ve also read and thoroughly enjoyed the prequel novella, ‘Wickedly Magical’, and I thoroughly recommend them both. I’m looking forward to the next one, ‘Wickedly Wonderful’, due out soon.