Cursed (The Lazarus Series) by C. J. Baker

Hunter Jolene Fox is now an investigative reporter for the Lazarus Times. When a serial killer called the Artist starts terrorizing the city, she sets out to uncover the truth behind the killings. When she meets North, a musician with a terrible curse, he ignites a passion within her that cannot be denied. Even as North struggles to protect Jolene from his dark hunger, the Artist draws in on them both, seeking bloody vengeance…

Keeping this review short and sweet. Bloody hell, this book is good. The cover makes it look like a standard paranormal romance, but it's so much more. There is enough violence and mystery to not make the romance icky. There is a solid and engaging story here that goes beyond a simple bump of pelvises. The cover is misleading, the work inside is amazing.

I liked the honest interpretation of the werewolf and of The Damned in general. The balancing act between an indie rockstar loner and an impulsive animal helped me connect with the lead character (North) ... not that I am an impulsive animal or an indie rockstar. North had noble intentions, but basically saw himself as a pariah (which did get boring on occasion). He was half animal, a killer, and very aware of it. 

I would like to add that the serial killer murder scene in the middle (The Artist sews a girl's lips and eyes shut as she bleeds out in the bath) gave me a nightmare. It was like I was there *shudder*. So well written, but so damn creepy. 

A hidden gem. Going to be reading the other books as this was an awesome introduction to a series.

5 skulls epic!

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