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Review: Mob Rules by Cameron Haley

6 Oct

Mob Rules by Cameron Haley
Trade: $9.99
Luna (September 2010)
ISBN: 978-0373803200

Favorite Lines: “Once the fire was blazing, I stripped off my clothes and started dancing naked around the fire. It was a little pagan, more than a little ridiculous, and not the way I usually roll, but sometimes the oldest magic requires the oldest methods.” (p. 55)

Domino Riley is an enforcer for the Shanar Rashan gang. She is the person who handles problems so Shanar doesn’t have to. It seems like an unnecessary position, but hey who is she to knock it. Things have been peaceful, but gangs are rarely associated with peace. The peace ends with someone killing seemingly random, low-rank gangsters in a gruesome manner. They are skinned alive; stripped of all magic. Domino’s job is simple: find out who has started the occult war and stop it.

Cameron Haley is one of the newest authors to hit the urban fantasy scene. Bypassing the vampires and werewolf heavy story lines, he focuses on the fae and magic users in his introductory book Mob Rules. I don’t normally read books written by men, but I didn’t know a man wrote this book until after I read it.

One problem I usually find while reading male written stories, told in the first person voice of a female, is the false tone. I am pleased to say I didn’t have that problem with Mob Rules. But I raise my eyebrows at the idea of any woman joining a basketball game and stripping off her shirt to play on the ‘skins’ team.

Domino is a rough woman who is comfortable in her own skin. She is a talented sorceress, trained by the head of the scariest mob organization in Los Angeles, Shanar Rashan. Secure in her sexuality, she finds herself attracted to her boss’s son despite his younger age and inability to perform magic. It is through him that her inner moral battle is shown.

Dom doesn’t want to be a ‘monster’ but as the head enforcer she can’t adopt a kumbaya mentality. People’s lives depend upon her protecting the gang’s territory and that means making hard, life or death decisions. She is another one of the “guys.” But being another one of the guys living in an urban sitting means the use of slang. The use of racial slurs is explained as the norm, but made me extremely uncomfortable to the verge of being angry. When it appeared, it was too much.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the story. I loved the idea and the way modern technology is mixed with magic, but in the end it wasn’t enough to draw me into the series. I’ll read Dom’s introduction to gang life in the Harvest Moon anthology, but how I feel when I put Dom’s short story down will determine if I buy the next full length novel in the series.

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