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Blackhearted Betrayal
by Kasey Mackenzie
Ace, $7.99, 294pp
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Protagonist and narrator Marissa Holloway is a mortal Fury, an agent of the three Prime Furies: Alecto, Mageara, and Tisiphone. Her scope of activity is limited to crimes committed by and/or against supernaturals in the Boston area or in the realms where immortals preside.  But don’t expect her to show up if an insurance adjuster has just cheated you out of a settlement or a court ruling goes awry or a million votes go missing in a swing state. Right now she is very much caught up in Family matters, because trouble is brewing in the ranks of the Sisterhood of the Furies. For millennia the Furies have tended to their duties and communicated equably; all of a sudden, factions, rivalries, dissention and disappearances are fouling the waters.

Riss was just about to enjoy some private time with her lover Scot, another mortal in the service of deities and demigods, in his case, Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead, when an unusual friend, the Queen Harpy Serise interrupts. She bears startling news that affects Riss and Scot both, and sets them on a shared quest, where personal interests and supernatural responsibilities come into conflict, especially when the source of the disaffection may prove to be Scot’s own patron deity. Friendship, love and loyalty are soon up against deep-laid deceptions and a bid for unchecked power.

Things are not always as they seem, and even a Fury clever enough to invoke the ceremony of the Scales and Feather against a god may not quite realize how significant the behavior of snake tattoos might be. Eventually all the masks – and cowls – come off. But can mere mortals hope to survive the divine shakedown?

This supernatural adventure, which follows Red Hot Fury and Green Eyed Envy, is a quick-paced narrative, with emphasis on character interactions. Depictions of locales are few and sketchy, whereas feelings are explicated at almost every turn. This style of writing is narrow band, but perfectly suited for readers who are more interested in the emotional payload of a story than sensory details of surroundings. Mackenzie invests her own wealth of love in her characters and their relationships, sharing this abundance with her readers. ~~ Chris R. Paige

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