Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin

June 18, 2014 4.5 stars, Book Review 19 ★★★★½

Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. MartinDeadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin
Series: Deadly Curiosities #1
Published by Solaris on June 24, 2014
Genres: Adult SFF, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.


In Deadly Curiosities, Gail Z. Martin paints us a beautiful portrait of modern Charleston, with a paranormal twist. I love that the main character, Cassidy, lives in Old Charleston in a “Charleston Single House” that she inherited. It oozes southern charm, and I can picture where she lives very clearly. This is a huge plus to me, because this city is on my bucket list of destinations! Cassidy herself is an interesting, intelligent, well-off Southern girl who works hard for her money. She was lucky to inherit her home and business, but she still has to work hard to make ends meet. She has a special ability such that when she touches a magical object she is able to get pictures, emotions and sometimes a story to go along with the item. If her shop encounters something dangerous, they then nullify it with the help of Sorren, a 600 year old vampire. At which point they then re-sell the items in her shop, sans dangerous energies. When our series begins, Cassidy and her friends are trying to figure out what is going on with items around Charleston. They seem to be gaining magical properties…and not in a good way. Will the shadow ghosts that have been seen lurking the old streets truly be as dangerous as they feel?  Will the haunted objects be somehow related to them?

Gail Z. Martin has a knack for describing rooms and architecture. I can visualize how the rooms look, feel and I am ready to visit these places myself! Good descriptions are a large part of my enjoyment in reading. It helps me to travel and experience things that I haven’t and may never get to see in person. I feel like it rounds me out as a person, and makes me feel well-traveled and connected to distant places. Here is an excellent example of her scene painting ability.

The parlor had a magnificent Victorian single-end sofa, with a curving back that was higher on one side than the other, and rich red velvet upholstery edged in dark wood.  Fringed lampshades glowed on the table lamps with their elaborate molded bronze stands.  Rebecca laughed as she showed me how the big armoire hid a large screen TV and stereo system.  A pair of comfortable chairs sat near the fireplace with an end table between them, inviting me to curl up and read.

Isn’t that description fantastic? I could walk into that room. As far as dialogue, however, this book is a little jerky.  The conversations feel a little fake… or like they are trying a bit too hard to get information across and because of that fail to feel totally organic. The internal dialogue is better, and the information coming across like that feels more realistic. I also feel like there is a lot of back story that is given that may be from another source that you should have read prior to this book, perhaps Buttons, a short story mentioned in the back.

Cassidy’s friendship with Teag, her assistant manager whose magic is called weaver magic, is excellent and sans romance as he is in a relationship with a lawyer named Anthony. Teag is a little too perfect to feel real to me.  He is excellent at his form of magic, a martial artist, smart, attractive… I didn’t get one flaw from him in this story. His partner Anthony is a lawyer who is conveniently placed to help them solve their mystery, yet be “busy” working when the action goes down and safely out of danger. His character felt like an info-dumper than a real player. Hopefully they will fill out and humanize him a little in the next installment. Which I am avidly waiting for, BTW.  😀 Deadly Curiosities has great potential to go far, the shop idea is interesting and can open up so many avenues of story possibilities! Gail Z. Martin does an excellent job painting vivid scenes, her suspense and fight scenes are amazing and her characters charming. I can’t wait for more! Here is a little taste of the suspenseful writing that drew me in so deeply… which I seriously hope you’ll enjoy too. 😉

I was so cold that I was shivering, and the shrieks and cries of the long-dead echoed in my ears.  Shadow hands tore at my clothing and grabbed at my hair.

Freaky right?  Now wrap that up around a modern girl who loves lattes & her Maltese Baxter… throw in some antiques and old homes and a huge dose of Southern charm and there you have it!  Deadly Curiosities was a wonderful read!

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When not taking care of my two children, husband and mini doxy, rushing here and there on the go, I can always be found reading. Fantasy of course being my favorite genre, but not the only I'll read. Oh yes, and I throw bad books.

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19 Responses to “Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin”

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      I have to say that the Rebellion / Solaris folks are very nice but they definitely only give those books out at the specified times and if you aren’t there for it you are just out of luck. Most other pubs if they have the extra copies left they will totally give it to you. Find it rather strange.
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. MartinMy Profile

  1. Lege

    I’m really excited about this one. An antique/curio store that’s actually a pawn shop that’s actually something more is too interesting to pass.
    First time I saw this cover I had a Being Human flashback. 😀

    Great review, Maggie!

  2. Becky LeJeune

    Ha! I’m with Mogsy – I wanted to eat almost the entire time I was reading this book.

    I’ve been to Charleston a few times but I did so love the imagery in the book; I felt like I was right there in the city!
    Becky LeJeune recently posted…Deep Blue by Jennifer DonnellyMy Profile

  3. Kirsty-Marie

    Yay for the descriptions, always good when you can see them vividly, shame about the dialogue though. I hate it when it all just looks and sounds awkward, when there’s just something…off about it. 🙁
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Book Blogger TestMy Profile