9. Urban Shaman (The Walker Papers) by C.E. Murphy. 352 p. Published June 2005.
This is the first book in C.E. Murphy’s Walker Papers series. It opens on Joanne Siobhan Walker flying back from her mother’s funeral on the red-eye into Seattle. On approach she glances out the window to see a woman being chased through the streets. Which is odd, since she’s still a few thousand feet up. Even odder, the woman is being chased by a pack of dogs.
Thus begins Jo’s journey into the strange underworld of shamanic magic. You see, Jo’s heritage is unique – half Irish, half Native American – all magic. There’s one problem – she’s denied her legacy almost her whole life, burying it under the motor oil and engine grease of her job as a mechanic – and part-time cop – for Seattle’s finest. Accompanied by an aging cabby with nothing better to do and guided by the Coyote that won’t get out of her head, Jo must deal with The Wild Hunt and a serial murderer without pissing off her touchy captain. That’s a tall order for a lady who just wants to tune her car’s engine.
C.E. Murphy has introduced us to an amazing world; one filled with humor, magic, danger, and – most importantly – wonder. The characters of Urban Shaman are enjoyable and Murphy makes an effort to express just how human her protagonist is. However, while the book is well paced, Murphy seemed to struggle with the initial interwieving of Jo’s plight and the story’s plot. A little too brooding for my tastes. Then again, it’s not easy to introduce two brand new worlds and still create likeable characters. And while a few people I know have taken issue with Murphy’s portrayal of Shamanism, I do not. My review on the next two books is soon to come.
Rating: 4 out of 5