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WesternSFA
Iron Night
by M.L. Brennan
ROC books, $7.99, 305pp
Release Date: January 7, 2014
This is an excellent piece of tightly written fiction.

It would have helped me some if I had read the first book---but this one as a standalone was just great. I especially loved the easy, comfortable conversations between the two main characters: vampire-in-the-making Fortitude Scott (great name) and his best friend, a kitsune named Suzume. There was nothing strained or unbelievable in their relationship as the two of them try to discover who killed Fortitude's charming (mostly) normal human roommate. In the process, they uncover a horrendous plot involving a skinwalker and the last remaining elves. The two work together well and are extremely well-rounded, complicated characters. No simple answers for a lot of their personal dilemmas. And both belong to tight-knit families run by rigid matriarchs.

The story is well-constructed and all the characters well-drawn and interesting. Brennan's world of vampires, kitsune (Japanese foxes who can turn into women), three-quarter elves (meaning they are not genetically pure), and the terrible skinwalker) is very different from other paranormal worlds I've come across and all the more fascinating for its unique arrangement. I definitely will hunt up her first book.
(I have to say though---not sure what the title refers to. There is a showdown at night but iron is hardly the specific downfall of anyone). ~~ Sue Martin

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