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Urban Shaman (The Walker Papers, Book 1) - C.E. Murphy Finally! This dog lover gets a book with a dog. Ok, it is *really*Coyote, but if Joanne can call him ‘dog’, that is good enough for me. ;)

This book starts off with a bang. Joanne, exhausted, with contacts stuck to her eyeballs, is airborne and returning home from Ireland. From the plane, she sees a woman running for her life. When she lands, she attempts to get people to take her seriously and send someone out to rescue the unknown woman. Strangely enough, however, no one believes her, so she takes it upon herself to jump into a cab and go looking for the church she saw from the plane in hopes of rescuing the woman. From here, she gets involved in a wide reaching plot and attempts to dig up clues and save the world, because without the saving the world part, we’d have no book to read.

This is an interesting book. Joanne is Irish/Cherokee. So, she is battling both parts of her heritage. And Ms. Murphy uses both parts of this heritage to derive the mythology she uses to tell her story. As I am not completely familiar with either mythos, I am not really able to comment on the validity of her ‘mash-up’, but, on entertainment value, I found it fascinating. That being said, even upon finishing, I not totally sure I know why and what happened – I am not completely sure who Cernonnus is – and how he relates to The Hunt and The Rider. I mean, I *get* that they are directing the path of the story, and resolving the crisis is what is pushing Joanne to become the Shaman – I am just a little befuddled at the other world and what happened there or in whose world and in which between place and what would cause permanence in the ‘real world’ and why it all mattered. But, I really enjoyed the ride. And, I enjoyed her relationships with those around her and I really cared about all of them.

Again, this is another book I have resisted because it is published by Luna, a Harlequin company. As I have mentioned before, I do not mind a little romance with my fantasy, but I don’t want to read a ‘romance,’ no matter if it is dressed up as fantasy. And, strangely enough, this book has absolutely zilcho romance. Now, there is a relationship (or 2 or 3) that I can see developing into a romance, but this story is about Jo and how she starts her path as an ‘Urban Shaman.’ What I *did* find a tad unbelievable was how quickly those around her accepted her strange ideas and resolutions. But, eh, in a book such as this, one must always suspend some amount of belief, so I let that slide. There are no vampires or wereKin present in this volume.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this story because I *loved* Joanne. I could just wrap her up and keep her. I think I liked her from the very first moment she had her contacts stuck to her eyeballs. I liked the way that she didn’t care that she looked like a raving lunatic, she was determined to save this woman from that which she was running. I liked the way she insisted on calling Coyote dog. I liked the way she loved being a mechanic and that was all she every really wanted to be. But, I really fell in love with her when she booted her computer and it was in Linux! Then, I *knew* I had found a kindred spirit.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars – had the mythos been a bit easier to follow, it might have hit 5. I will probably pick up the next one when I get through the large stack of books through which I am currently working. Or, when I just need a reprieve and want to spend time with a beloved character.