“Raven’s Vow” by Shawna Report

This novel should be subtitled, “The Raven Grows Up.” The tale takes place soon after the birth of their son, so Cassandra is sidelined, leaving Raven to bear the brunt of the action. In an earlier review I have bemoaned the fading tensions between the two main characters and the loss of interest this creates. Ms. Reppert now solves this by playing the various prejudices of the different law-enforcing establishments and their individual officers against each other to create the interpersonal conflict.

The plotline is basically that of a murder mystery. Magic plays a smaller role in the conflict, and mundane policing takes up the slack. A serial killer is targeting random people, and in desperation the authorities bring Raven in to figure it out.

As this series progresses, the problem for the author is that Raven is becoming more domesticated, being a father and all that entails. Thus the deep well of his former insecurities is drying up as a source for tension in the book. What has replaced it is his protective feeling for his expanding circle of family and colleagues, making him more vulnerable.

A slowly developing sub-plot also keeps us interested, until the “Aha!” moment when we put the two together in our minds. The connection isn’t too difficult to figure out, but the development towards the inevitable conclusion is fascinating to watch, as we see the events inside a charismatic cult from the point of view of a believer.

Characters are true to themselves. When it comes to the time of decision at the climax of the story, Raven’s personality makes it no choice at all, and the denouement neatly ties up a loose end from the last book.

Highly recommended for Raven fans and followers of this series, as well as all fans of the paranormal.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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