Shannon Mayer's "Priceless" was truly a pleasant surprise, where badass heroine, Rylee Adamson finds herself battling the supernatural, eluding pesky FBI agents, and trying her best to rescue kidnapped children.
Really: with these elements, there is no reason this novel should have worked. None whatsoever. But it does, and I had a ball reading it.
Rylee is a Tracker. She has the psychic ability to locate lost people, both on this side and the other side of The Veil. She's also a badass, who never shies away from a fight, works out nightly, and has adopted the wimpiest werewolf of them all.
When she was a girl, Rylee lost her younger sister, Berget, who was kidnapped and never found. Her parents blamed Rylee for the incident, and encouraged her to move out. She found an unlikely foster mom named Giselle, and a fellow orphan named Millie. Giselle was a psychic and recognized the special talents in both girls. At Giselle's knee, Rylee learned how to focus and refine her psychic abilities, and Millie developed her abilities as a witch.
When "Priceless" begins, a young girl named India has gone missing, and her parents are trying to convince Rylee to investigate. When Rylee learns that India was kidnapped from the same park, on the same swingset, on the very anniversary of her sister's kidnapping, she's hooked.
In many novels where supernatural types work among us simple mortals, there is a separate, rarified world for the supernaturals. One of my favorite things about "Priceless" is that while Rylee has psychic connections to The Other Side (and has an oddly wimpy werewolf), she mostly lives in our world. Our world, however, is not always as it seems--your favorite bartender could be an ogre in disguise, for example.
Also, Rylee doesn't have any supernatural organization working behind her. She has a few friends with abilities--and a witch for an adopted sister--but she's essentially flying solo.She uses whatever tools she has, from consulting a Shaman to paying a hacker to access FBI files.
As "Priceless" zips along, Rylee ends up with some unexpected allies on her mission to rescue India before it's too late.
Rylee makes a wonderful first-person narrator, too. She shows strength and courage, tinged with insecurity. She knows that FBI Agent Liam O'Shea has been dogging her for years, and is basically her sworn enemy, and yet she feels slightly, disturbingly attracted to him. There are a few brief chapters that switch from Rylee's first-person narration to third-person following O'Shea.
"Priceless" is subtitled "A Sexy Urban Fantasy Mystery #1." There are a few scenes with sexual tension, but no real sex. As far as "Urban," Bismark, North Dakota, is the most urban area the book visits. Fantasy and mystery abound, though.
This isn't an especially long novel, and I don't know how successful it will be. Shannon Mayer's great skill is that her hand is not visible in "Priceless." She has created such a solid, credible narratrix in Rylee, that hers is the only voice we hear. Kudos to Ms Mayer.
All I know is that I thoroughly enjoyed "Priceless," despite having no earthly idea what to expect when I began reading, and that I really hope we hear much more from Rylee. I guess that's as glowing a review as I could give a book.