Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre is the first in the Corine Solomon series. An urban fantasy taking place mostly on the border between Mexico and Texas, Blue Diablo is steeped in magic of all kinds.
1—Magic, Magic Everywhere
Corine’s magic, the ability to see past events when she touches an object, comes with a steep price—the touch burns her because she gained her abilities from her mother when she burned to death when Corine was a child. There are also witches and a necromancer, and demons, not to mention God’s Hand—or so he claims. Kel’s power is real but its source is uncertain to Corine and thus to us. There’s also Chance, Corine’s ex, who has the most extraordinary good luck to point it’s acknowledged as a power. And there’s Jesse Saldana, an empathic cop who becomes Corine’s mentor, and possibly something more, much to Chance’s chagrin.
2—Thoughts of the Past
Corine’s thoughts are constantly laced with two things—thoughts of her mother and thoughts of her ex, Chance. This means that though there are no flashbacks, a good part of the story takes place in the past. And though Corine’s love life is prominent in the narrative, there are no sex scenes. Bar one kiss, things are kept generalized enough that I didn’t find myself skimming (I don’t enjoy sex scenes, but you may differ).
The plot of the book kicks off when Chance comes to Corine to help him find his missing mother, Yi Min-chin. There are plenty of twists and turns, including a trip to the zona, or Boys Town, where it turns out Min worked as a curandera to poor prostitutes. The Climaxes were satisfyingly bloody and exciting but the denouement was a bit abrupt. Blue Diablo is also obviously the first in a larger series, planting hooks both plot-wise and romance-wise for later books.
Though Corine isn’t a gun-wielding badass—her aim is terrible—she’s determined, smart, and brave, a badass in her own way. It was a nice change of pace from the usual professional havoc-wreckers of urban fantasy. I enjoyed Blue Diablo.