Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Length: 376 Pages
Category: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Mythology
At a Glance: A unique take on gods and goddesses, this series updates Hades and other members of his family.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: When humans forsake the temples, the gods need to find other employment. Hades opens Brandywine Investigations after his divorce and his subsequent move to the modern world. If he was hoping for boring infidelity cases and lost dogs, he’s sorely mistaken as murder and mayhem find his agency and his extended family at an astonishing rate.
Includes: Canines, Crosshairs & Corpses: Brandywine Investigations #1 || No Enemy But Time: Brandywine Investigations #2 || Dragons, Diamonds & Discord: Brandywine Investigations #3
Please note: The stories in this omnibus have been reedited, and expanded by about 18K (total.)
Review: When I started this omnibus edition, I was thrilled to find out there would be more coming. After all, this book—with three stories in it—was highly entertaining and I wasn’t ready to leave the world, even after 376 pages. Having read Angel Martinez before, I knew I was going to get quality writing. I didn’t expect to be swept away by the reimagined gods and goddesses of the world.
In the first book, Canines, Crosshairs & Corpses, Hades is stunned when his wife, Persephone, files for divorce. When his family suggests a change in careers to help establish himself in the modern world, Hades finds himself moving to Wilmington with Charon, and opening a private investigation agency. His first job is helping find the killer of homeless men in his adopted city. When he meets Tiberius, a human on death’s doorstep, he finds himself drawn to the fragile, sick human. Together, with his faithful ferryman, he must discovery who is after Ti and his friends, and prevent another murder from taking place. Before he falls in love with the human or ends up dead himself.
Wow. Hades and Charon are such complex character in this reimagined world. In order to keep existing, the gods must have believers in the world, and to accomplish this, they run human businesses. Personality wise, Hades is different than the Greek myths have explained; however, there are reasons for it. Martinez does a wonderful job of having Hades explain to Ti just what is true and what isn’t about the Greek myths.
Charon is also wonderful. I found his personality to be absolutely engaging and his loyalty to Hades was heartwarming. That might sound weird, considering he ferries the dead, but if you read the story, you’ll get it.
While it might seem strange to have such a powerful god fall for a human, I liked it. After all, Zeus had several dozen human lovers, so why not Hades? Most of the gods and goddesses did, so seeing Hades vulnerable was a wonderful change of pace (in a teeny way, it reminded me of the Percy Jackson series… but only minutely. Just that it made me appreciate the Greek myths differently).
There are other beings in this world, too. All the gods and goddesses from every religion coexist—or don’t—in the modern world, and there are rules that pertain to them. This kept me riveted, because I liked seeing how Hades reacted to other beings encroaching on his territory.
The second book, No Enemy But Time, shifts focus from Hades to his son Zagreus and his fallen angel lover, Michael. Zagreus, or Zack, as he likes to be called, is ambivalent about his father’s relationship with a human. He doesn’t understand why a powerful god would fall for someone so weak, but he’s trying to deal with it. When his father calls him for help after being attacked, Zack and Michael travel to Wilmington to discover the local fallen angels are going mad and turning evil. Michael fell when he kissed Zack for the first time, and since then, the former Guardian Angel has been living with the knowledge that someday he might continue the fall into insanity. But with Zack at his side, he’s been fine. That is, until an unknown chaos lord pushes him too far. It’s up to Zack to save his angel, but can he?
Again, I loved this book. Michael is a Christian angel, and yet he was the Guardian of a Greek demi-god due to a technicality from his human mother’s prayers. Such a fresh take, and I loved the adoring relationship the two have for each other.
Also interesting was the way Zack struggled with his father’s new lover. Hades and Ti have been together awhile, so they are getting more comfortable, but Zack is unsure of how to accept it. Then to throw in a Sumerian chaos lord, a la Gilgamesh era, and Zack is in for some major trouble and shifts in his life. In the end, he has to make a very painful decision, and I cried. My heart utterly broke, and the ending is so beautiful.
Finally, the third book, Dragons, Diamonds & Discord, focuses on Hermes. After his jewelry stores are targeted and his most expensive products are stolen by a mysterious figure, Hermes gets his entire family involved. What they discover is pretty shocking: a dragon has been targeting his stores and stealing his most expensive jewels for his hoard. Imagine the gall of someone stealing from the god of thieves?! After doing some research, Hermes discovers the dragon is the famous children’s author F.B. Dreki. Using his businesses as a cover, Hermes gets close to Dreki to find out exactly what is going on. And it’s not what he thought. Attracted to the dual-natured dragon and wanting to help him, Hermes enlists the help of Hades, Charon, Michael and Zagreus to try to uncover what exactly Charon’s sister Eris is doing to prompt the dragon to cycle again. And if they don’t stop her in time, all of New York City might be in danger from a rampaging dragon.
Again, GAH with this series! I loved the characterizations and the introduction of even more gods from beyond Greek myths. They add so much to the story, seeing how they work together and plot. And Dreki with Hermes? Deliciously hot. Of course, Hermes has not forgotten Krokos and his memory is brought up frequently enough to add depth to his character.
Dionysus also has a larger part in this story towards the end, and I look forward to someday seeing his story developed in this world. I want to know what drives him, besides the wine, and why he goes wild sometimes. Who would he fall for? And what about Charon? Such a mysterious presence, who is possibly the most important character in the series. He might always be in the background, but without him, much of what comes to fruition never would.
I cannot wait to read what Angel Martinez has in store next for the Brandywine boys. If you like Greek mythology, or any mythology for that matter, you should definitely check out this series!
You can buy Brandywine Investigations: Open for Business here: