Author: Kait Ballenger
Reviewer: Jen Twimom
Midnight Hunter is the third book in Ms. Ballenger’s intense and action-filled Execution Underground series. Mixing both traditional and unique paranormal mythologies, the author has constructed an exciting world that successfully pairs opposites to create dynamic romances.
Dr. Shane Grey is a popular professor of Religious Studies at the local college and serving as a Witch Hunter for EU on the sly. While equally as rough and tough as his EU counterparts, Shane has that straight-laced, nerdy professor vibe going for him. He’s attracted to one of his students-a former black magic practitioner at that-which causes him endless internal strife, especially since he needs her help on a case.
Vera Sanders has worked hard to distance herself from her notorious father and get over her addiction to black magic. In a moment of weakness, she falls off the wagon and indulges in spell-casting with a dark coven. When her heart-throb-of-a-professor comes seeking her help to find the very coven she’s recently met with, Vera tries hard to help without revealing her secrets – or act on her desires for Dr. Shane Grey.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and premise behind Midnight Hunter. The mythology of magic was interesting, and thankfully, wasn’t nearly as complex and confusing as the were and demon mythologies found in the previous two stories. I liked how everything was pretty straight forward. I also loved how the EU team worked together and had a camaraderie which has been building over the course of the past few books.
I found the author did a good job creating a likable hero. I liked seeing the more personal side of Shane via his home life. I felt like I understood his motives and actions, even his uptight, stick-to-the-rules personality. Similarly, we got to see Vera, but she had a less three dimensional feeling. For too long, her primary motives revolved around hiding her black magic nature, understandable so, but it didn’t allow me to see as much of her character. She was very defensive and felt immature at times, making it harder for me to connect to her character.
While I enjoyed watching each of the primary characters grow and work to uncover the truth behind some gruesome deaths, as a couple, they fell a bit flat. The fact that each worked so hard to maintain a professional distance and fight their mutual lust, and Vera lied to Shane about the very thing they were working on, made it difficult for me to connect to this couple. There were a few sparks now and then, but mostly, I didn’t feel any palatable connection between the two for a majority of the story.
My biggest complaint is that it took entirely too long for Shane and Vera to let the truth come out, and even when it did, the couple still kept their distance. And then… when they FINALLY got past their hangups and hooked up (with less than 20% left in the book), the fact that they did in a way which was so against Shane’s character irritated me. I felt that there were a few times earlier in the book when the couple could have come clean and hooked up; it just took way too long.
Shane’s case of zombies and murders was exciting and added great tension to the book. There were a few twists that made the story more meaningful to the primary couple, adding to the overall story. And the final climatic scenes were well played!
In the end, I enjoyed Midnight Hunter, which a solid addition to the Execution Underground series. While I had a few issues with the romance between the primary couple, especially how it played out, I found the characters and plot entertaining. Although the book could be read as a standalone, I feel that having read about the characters and mythology in the previous books added a lot to my overall enjoyment.
Occult specialist and witch hunter Dr. Shane Grey is called upon to investigate a string of crimes that bear all the hallmarks of black magic. But he can’t take on this daunting assignment for the Execution Underground alone. He’ll need the help of Vera Sanders, a witch with a dark past—and a woman who disturbs him as much as she intrigues him.
Vera is determined to ignore the dangerous chemistry between herself and Shane so she can prove her loyalty to his cause; otherwise she risks the wrath of the Execution Underground once again. If she can’t make Shane trust her, they won’t stand a chance in hell of defeating the evil that’s terrorizing their city. No easy task, considering old habits die hard…and Vera may be the very person responsible for luring Shane into a killer’s trap.
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Series: Execution Underground #3
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Book Source: Author/NetGalley
Midnight Hunter (Execution Underground #3)
Reviews in the Series:
“Shadow Hunter” by Kait Ballenger (After Dark) (Execution Underground #0.5)
Twilight Hunter by Kait Ballenger (Execution Underground #1)
Immortal Hunter by Kait Ballenger (Execution Underground #2)