Series: The Darker Agency,
Published by Entangled Teen Ember on 19 August 2013
Genres: Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Inkslinger PR
Place(s) Traveled to: Penance, New York
First Line(s): It was hard to piss off my mom, but I’d managed to do just that – piss her off. Big time.
Darker Days by Jus Accardo is the start of her new series about The Darker Agency and also part of Entangled’s newest imprint Ember Teen. This series is a paranormal mystery/suspense with a wee bit of romance mixed in for fun and is told from the POV of Jessie Darker. Jessie helps her mother run the Darker Agency which is just like your typical PI firm and they track down deadbeat dads and cheating spouses. And if you happen to have a demon possessed pet or a zombie in your pool then they can help you take care of that too.
I’ve been on a bit of a contemporary kick lately and so wasn’t sure how I would like Darker Days but once I started it I couldn’t put it down. The book is told from Jessie’s POV and she is one feisty character filled with all the snark and sass that I love. She’s a strong character and doesn’t need to have any dark and mysterious boy come to her rescue In fact, she’s more likely to punch said boy in the face if he tried! She isn’t perfect and her life is far from normal but she rises to the occasion when needed and more often than not kicks some serious a$$.
The mystery contained in this book isn’t all that hard to figure out but Accardo leaves a nice little trail of breadcrumbs which will be helpful for younger readers. Accardo doles out just enough information to leave the reader wanting more and quickly turning the pages to see what new twists and turns happen next. The pacing is realistic and believable and I don’t think I rolled my eyes once at the romance aspect of it either. By necessity, this mystery takes place over five action filled days and in that time Jessie manages to fall for Lukas, who is pure sin. Despite how quickly these two come to care for one another it never had the whiplash, eye-roll inducing insta-love that I dislike so in books. Their relationship may have been fast but it felt like one that developed over a longer period of time and I liked that.
I liked all of the characters and really enjoyed how they all played off of each other. Jessie and her mother are two peas of a pod. And Lukas was able to go toe to toe with Jessie on all points despite being from another time. This aspect of his character also lead to some funny moments as he adjusted to how things are now. I also enjoyed how close and involved that Jessie’s parents were in this story. No, absent or dead parents here and no overly angtsy rebellious teenager acting out either. The Darker’s may not be the most normal family on the block by they are certainly well adjusted.
I did have a couple of quibbles with this story, like the math was off at one point when the characters were talking about the now and the time where this all started (1882). They kept saying that it was 147 years ago which makes it 1866. But that could just be a minor error in the ARC version that I had. The big bad’s motivation was also a bit convoluted and yet seems to lack much in the way of actual substance. So hopefully that will be discussed and developed further as the series progresses.
Overall, Darker Days is a great start to a new series and this book sets up a bit of events that will be coming down the road. But even though not all the plot points are closed out the main mystery of this book is so the reader gets a sense of completion. I really enjoyed this book and am not looking forward to the long wait until the next book in the series. I really liked living in Jessie’s head and I want to know more about her, about her crazy town, her witchy BFF, and what mad cap mystery she’ll find herself in next. If you like a good mystery then this is a series that I can recommend to you. Its also one that I think those who are wary of the paranormal will enjoy as there are zombies and mentions of ghosts and interactions with witches its not an in your face sort of book. Penance is just your average town with a few quirks hidden below the surface.