My review:

Dangerous Ways is the first book in a new series from the Dragon award-nominated finalist R.R.Virdi. You do not need to have read either Grave Beginnings or Grave Measures to follow this story, although if you have, there are some Easter eggs in Dangerous Ways that may well bring a smile to your face.

It is clear from the onset that Jonathan Hawthorne is no ordinary man: ‘When I stood here well over a hundred years ago, Longacre Square was the center of New York’s carriage industry. Today, Times Square was a colored pinwheel caught in a blizzard.’ From the very first line, my interest was piqued, and as is normal for one of R.R.Virdi’s books, I was invested in the characters, plot, and story by the end of the first chapter.

Story: Jonathan Hawthorne lives outside time and is governed by one very strict rule: do not meddle in mortal affairs. Unfortunately, he’s already broken this rule – twice – and when he meets Cassidy Winters, he interferes again.

Chased by unknown adversaries, through distinct and dangerous lands, Jonathan seeks to find the answers to Cassidy’s questions, and a few of his own.

Characters: Despite his rule breaking, Jonathan isn’t a rebel. He is honourable, loyal, and an all-round decent man, although that is not to say he doesn’t have his ‘moments’ or secrets. In taking the non-typical damsel-in-distress under his wing, he brings danger upon himself. For a man who has lived for over a hundred years, this could be construed as a little naïve, but his heart in the right place. The question is, will a good heart be enough to see him through the challenges ahead?

Cassie, on the other hand, is snarky, quick-witted, and has survived her ordeal – so far – but the world of the Neravene is dangerous. Slipping through ‘the cracks of reality’ isn’t the best way to do things, as Jonathan makes quite clear: ‘One didn’t open a Way and not know where they were going.’

There is a multitude of supporting characters in Dangerous Ways, and they come in all shapes, sizes and egos; some are good, some not so good. In true form to his writing style, R.R.Virdi keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, and just when you think you ‘know’ someone, well, it turns out that you don’t – not always, anyway.

Summary: R.R.Virdi has a strong grasp of the structure and techniques that work to assist story telling. The first couple of paragraphs blend scene setting with backstory, but it is done in such a way as to create a hook: a hundred-year-plus old man, in modern day New York, okay, and he’s being sentenced for something – cool – but for what? R.R.Virdi doesn’t tell us, though he hints at the consequences being severe. No, the author leaves the reader to ponder while he moves on to a touch of character interaction – and in doing so drops another breadcrumb of intrigue – and we’re not even halfway down the first page yet.

It is a formula that works for R.R.Virdi, allowing his story, characters, and the world of the Neravene to come to life, and I for one, cannot wait for the next installment.

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