This is the first book in a new trilogy, so it will work fine to anyone new to the authors or this fantasy world, but readers may want to have read at least Diamond Fire, a novella which introduces the heroine and bridges the completed trilogy and this new one.
In a world where magical abilities bring wealth, power and possibly even fame, Catalina Baylor has reluctantly become the head of House Baylor and the main investigator of her family’s detective agency, after her sister stepped down, because she’s married to the Prime of another powerful House. While Catalina’s sister Nevada has the very rare ability not just to tell when someone is lying, and can also able to coerce the truth out of someone (convenient if you’re trying to solve cases), Catalina’s powers are almost unheard of and have been kept under wraps by everyone around her for a good reason. .
If she doesn’t shield herself, she has the ability to make people love her unquestioningly, an emotion which quickly turns to obsession and madness. A nurse tried to steal her from the hospital when she was a baby. She was home schooled after her little class mates tried to steal parts of her clothing or even tear bits of her hair out. Catalina has spent most of her life tamping down her powers, and only after her family declared themselves a house, with all of the three Baylor daughters as Primes, has Catalina needed to learn how to properly use her abilities. It also means that while she has a supportive and affectionate family, she doesn’t really have any close friends and she’s even considered any romantic possibilities (because how can she trust that they’re not just ensnared by her?)
A few years ago, Catalina worked closely with another Prime, Runa Etterson, in investigating who was trying to sabotage Nevada’s upcoming wedding. At the start of this book, Catalina is asked to help when Runa’s younger brother is threatening to jump off a building, mad with grief because their mother and sister just died in a fire. Catalina uses her powers to persuade the boy not to jump, and even though she’s warned that taking the case of investigating the deaths is a terrible idea, which will probably endanger the Baylors, she can’t turn away someone who could actually become a friend in their time of grief and desperation.
Full review on my blog.