River Marked by Patricia Briggs is the latest installment in the Mercy Thompson series, and it doesn't pull any punches.
I am also not a huge fan of the cover. But maybe that's just me. It is a completely inaccurate portrayal of the main character.
River Marked picks up soon after where Silver Borne left off. It starts off with a wedding and is one of the most tasteful honeymoon-centered books I've yet encountered. Of course, that may have to do with the fact that people start dying a few days into said honeymoon, and Mercy (coyote shape shifter) and her new husband Adam (alpha male of the local werewolf pack) get suckered into killing a giant monster to stop any more people from dying. But still. I was very impressed with how tastefully the whole thing was handled nonetheless.
I am also impressed with how well Briggs manages to make Mercy's troubles believable, despite the action being completely over the top. (Seriously, I think there are at least 3 or 4 times when she or Adam are seriously injured or beaten up throughout the book.) Mercy seems to attract trouble wherever she goes, and this book is no exception. Briggs deliberately hangs a lantern on it several times (my favorite being the episode in Walmart) which only makes it work even better.
There were a few niggly things that I wasn't entirely content with, of course - the fate of the walking stick, for example, and the fact that the majority of this book was far removed from most of the staples of the Mercy books (what with being set in a completely new location and all), but as a whole I was quite satisfied with this installment. I do think that they are best enjoyed when read in quick succession though. I wish I'd had the chance to read this one a year ago when it first came out.
Overall a fun and quick read. I love the characters and think Briggs has done an excellent job mingling lots of bits of common mythology into a unique and rich world.