Title: Heart of Darkness
Series: Valentino Celestine Mysteries Book One
Author: Angello Adrien
Genre: Mystery/Urban Fantasy
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay
Reviewer: Madison, Paranormal Romance Guild
About The Book
Valentino Celestine, private detective and Human Consort, is going through some changes in his life. His best friend and Guardian is leaving Philadelphia to become the new faery queen, and her replacement is a vampire named Aladar, who Valentino loathes. In spite of his feelings toward Aladar, Valentino finds himself becoming close to the hot were-puma, Robert, who’s one of Aladar’s guards.
Strange murders suddenly begin occurring around the city, and as the body count starts to rise, Valentino must use his wits and powers to find the murderer—or murderers—before it’s too late.
Between seduction and desire, light and darkness, a high price will be paid…a cost Valentino may never recover from.
Valentino Celestine is the human consort of a Fae, living in Philadelphia. Amoria is a Guardian whose job it is to keep the peace between the humans and the supernatural creatures living together and sharing this world. Amoria also has a Fae consort, Dan. Both of them are Valentino’s best friends. They accept him the way he is, keeping his secret. Valentino knows he will miss them so much since they weren’t merely his employers, but also his very best friends.
At one point Amoria has to return home to become the queen, and Valentino meets the new Guardian of Philadelphia, Aladar, with his friend Lazarus, his guards Tolos, Tamara and Robert, who turns out to be a Werpuma.
Amoria permitted Valentino not only to keep his own house but also keep his job as a detective, which he loves.
When a series of murders start, Valentino is extremely busy trying to share his time between the investigation, being a consort to Aladar who he can’t stand, keeping his secret and the growing bond between Robert and him.
Valentino tries whatever necessary to get his job done, even more since time seems to run out. Determined to discover the murderer, and solve the case to go on with his life, he asks his friends for help – and gets it.
At this point I won’t tell anything else about the story, scared to give away too much. The plot is well knitted with plenty of suspense and well-developed characters. As I normally do when I like a book, I picked my favorite. This time it is Robert. Robert, the Werpuma. He is a sensitive and patient character with many excellent attributes and the ability to love. And he definitely falls for Valentino.
Both men are connected by an intriguing, strongly built bond which allows them to enjoy the time together without ‘necessary’ intimacy. They give themselves space and heart, and that is as unusual as also loveable.
Nevertheless, Valentino needs to nourish his secret half and therefore has sexual get-togethers, for example with faun Jofiel or a guy named Ashmal… The book isn’t for young adults, and the intimacy is quite vividly described, I, therefore, recommend to keep it out of the hands of minors.
As I mentioned before, in order to fulfill his task to catch the murderer of the innocent victims, Valentino has to travel to Fairy. That trip isn’t easy, and it is dangerous and quite binding.
The author describes Fairy with its different courts and creatures in vivid words and paints pictures to tickle the reader’s fantasy. He does an excellent job with that, and I loved to travel there with Valentino.
I do have two small things to mention, though. As much as I love Valentino: his last name to me is actually the French first name for a woman (Celestine) which seems to be a bit off. He is a tough guy, and I just don’t feel that last name matches the character. However, that is only my feeling.
Also, I don’t agree with the ‘shapeshifter’ word Angello uses: ‘were’ as in ‘were-puma.’ In my review I purposely used the simple, original word ‘Wer,’ which is the old Germanic word for ‘man.’ It is absolutely sufficient to just use the word in its original form without an additional ‘e.’ I would prefer the author uses ‘Werpuma’ just as the more common ‘Werwolf.’
Other than that, I enjoyed the read enormously, and I’d be curious about the next part in the series. What is Valentino up to in his next adventure?
Madison Davis is a fantasy and paranormal romance author. She also works as a graphic designer and business strategy consultant. But her dream is to become a full-time writer. She enjoys the support of her friends and family and loves reading, traveling, and dancing. Madison lives in the South East with her husband, three cats, and a Rottweiler.
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