I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of Jocelyn Adams blog tour for Stone Chameleon. It’s no secret that Jocelyn is one of my favourite paranormal romance writers. She has the rare ability to weave stories that capture the imagination so fully, you’ll disappear into the world she’s created and emerge on the other side feeling like you’ve been put through the wringer along side her characters. And yes, that’s a GOOD thing. In fact, it’s what every writer aspires to achieve.
When a series of unusual murders point to Lou Hudson, Ironhill’s equal rights advocate, as the primary suspect, she has but one choice: find the real perpetrator before her trial begins or face execution.
Lou, the last of the jinn, survives by hiding her abilities after the rest of the elementals fell victim to genocide. As a preternatural pest exterminator and self-proclaimed guardian of the innocent, she’s accustomed to trudging through the dregs of society. Hunting down a pesky murderer should be easy, especially with help from the dashing and mischievous local media darling.
For Lou, though, nothing is ever simple. When she discovers the killer’s identity, to reveal it would unearth her secret and go against her strict moral code, resulting in a deadly catch twenty-two.
Well, first off, I have to admit I was one of the lucky few who got to beta read this story for Jocelyn. I knew I was in for a treat because I’d already read her kick-ass Lila Gray series (If you haven’t read it, you really should). Even at the early stage of the story’s evolution, it was polished and captivating. I’m assured very little of the plot has changed since my reading. Jocelyn’s first drafts are like most peoples final manuscripts. Seriously, this woman is a born writer—she possesses a gift.
So, what do I like most about this novel? It’s a toss-up between the characters and the world building. The story world is enthralling. The reader is thrust into the belly (literally) of a modern day American city jam-packed with preternatural creatures. Lou Hudson is the girl tasked with managing the more…difficult inhabitants, and for a number of reasons, it’s the race politics and tension between groups that make this novel so accomplished.
Lou walks a fine line trying to keep her jinn heritage under wraps, and in doing so she proves herself to be a strong and determined lady. She’s caring and sensitive, yet she doesn’t take bullsh*t from anyone. The other characters are a wonderful ensemble of oddballs: a Scottish kelpie, a sugar addicted pixie, a kilt-wearing vampire, and the list goes on. But what story would be complete without a furry sidekick? Benny the Guinea Pig is so cute and stole my heart with his huge personality.
I love stories that keep me guessing and Stone Chameleon did just that. Without providing spoilers, I can say the ending is left wide open and key characters aren’t what they seem. It’s a fast-paced read with action, romance, and mystery—everything you could ask for. I can’t wait to read more in the series. Get writing Jocelyn!
Now I’ll treat you to an excerpt, and you can find out about Lou Hudson for yourself. There’s even a fire breathing dragon bat. How cool is that?
A flare shot over the rooftops to our left. I dove at Blake and slammed him to the pavement as another column of fire streaked toward us. The flames seared my back. The dragon bat was not a happy camper. Someone landed on my backside, crushing a grunt out of me and pounding my shoulder blade while Blake gasped beneath me.
“Bloody hell, Amun,” I said, before I realized he did it to put out the flames eating up my shirt. “Oh, I see. Thanks.”
He pulled me up, and the three of us ducked behind a car in the parking lot beside the Whip and Tickle, a vampire fetish-wear shop. The owl-sized bat swooped over us again, blasting an inferno that exploded the front window of the shop, sending studded leather and melted mannequins onto the sidewalk.
Three of the other creatures we’d hunted lay dead on other streets, the scorpion included, all by my sword when I’d been left with two options: kill or die. Twelve more were contained in three trucks. The bat remained the only unwelcome visitor in Fangtown. Other than us, of course.
“This is madness, Lou.” Amun panted beside me, his arms rising to shield his head as the bat exhaled on a Mini Cooper two cars over, the crackling and popping suggesting we should find a new hiding place.
“I agree with Mr. Bassili,” Blake said, his drawl worsening with his fright. “What the hell in a hand grenade do we do now?”
Rudy poked his almost translucent head out from behind the newspaper boxes he dove behind during the first fiery blast. The poor guy shook so badly I’d have been surprised if he could see anything. I gestured to him to stay put. “We’ve scared it, not something you want to do to a dragon bat.” A deep exhalation centered me enough to think. “I seem to recall the pecking order in a colony of bats. If we want protection from the dominants, we must present an offering of food.”
“And that helps us how?” Amun, his face blackened with soot and smeared with dirt, tilted to rest against the tire of the car, appearing as frazzled as I’d ever seen him. The sight induced a belly laugh that wouldn’t be contained.
He took on a strange expression of one eyebrow cocked and a half-grin, as if he wasn’t sure whether to be amused or offended. “What?”
I waved him off. “Nothing, I think I’m just losing my marbles.” Rising up enough to see around the car to Rudy, I shouted, “Rudy, do you have any rodents in your truck? Rats or mice?”
“No,” he hollered back, “but I can call some for you.”
I nodded. “As fast as you can.”
Flapping came from our rears. Crackling. A blast tossed the front of a car up until it crashed down on its hood, crushing a Mazda behind it.
“Move!” I shoved at Amun and tugged Blake toward the back of the fetish shop, since it was much closer than the front where flames still poured out of the broken window. Amun kicked out with a startling force against the wooden door. It took three tries, but it finally gave. My, but he was strong. We rushed inside and crouched behind a cement wall beside a set of stairs leading down.
“What do you want the rats for?” Amun asked with obvious suspicion. “Tell me you don’t want one of us to go out there and dangle something for that thing to come and snatch, probably toasting us to a golden brown in the process? Because I think I’ve grown a healthy dose of sympathy for marshmallows right about now.”
“Don’t worry, Amun. I’m going, not you. We just need to listen for Rudy to come back, if he hasn’t chickened out and run for the hills. Hopefully rats like to hang out here and aren’t snapped up for evening snacks.” There was a reason the umikan stuck to small, normal pests, other than his ability to talk to them. Although he’d deal with the scarier stuff when the need called for it, he usually didn’t have enough courage to fill a thimble.
“What?” Amun palmed his forehead. “You can’t be serious.” He gestured toward the door. “Have you been oblivious to the destruction that thing caused just in the last ten minutes? It’s pissed, and I don’t think it’s going to care about some little morsel you offer it.” His frown tugged at his features. “Why are you smiling like that?”
I shrugged, hopped up on adrenaline and enjoying the sight of the great Amun Bassili squirming. “This is what I do for a living.”
“You’re enjoying this?” Both of his eyebrows jacked up.
“Yup,” Blake said, rolling his eyes and chuckling from deep in his belly. “Weirdest broad I ever knew. Takes a bit of starch outta the ole manhood, don’t it?”
I wiped the char from my hands onto my jeans. “To do a job one takes no pride in is a travesty, in my opinion.”
At Rudy’s shout from beyond the wall, I said, “Stay here. Don’t come out until I call or you could send the bat into fits again.”
Jocelyn Adams grew up on a cattle farm in Lakefield and has remained a resident of Southern Ontario her entire life, most recently in Muskoka. She has worked as a computer geek, a stable hand, a secretary, and spent most of her childhood buried up to the waist in an old car or tractor engine with her mechanically inclined dad. But mostly, she’s a dreamer with a vivid imagination and a love for dark fantasy (and a closet romantic — shhh!). When she isn’t shooting her compound bow in competition or writing, she hangs out with her husband and young daughter at their little house in the woods.