Title: The Mermaid of Seattle
Publisher: Triple Hare Press
Author: Heather Blackwood
Pages: 39pp
Price: free

Colette is a mermaid. One of the Otherfolk who lives secretly among humans, she runs a successful coffee shop in Seattle. Life is good, with Colette using her musical abilities to infuse her drinks with positive energy and good feelings. But when one of her favorite customers gives her a mysterious package to hide, and is then hauled away by men in expensive suits, Colette finds herself caught up in a mystery. Who stole the mystical Toadstone? Who wants to break up the marriage alliance between the Yun and Szombathy families? And who poisoned the Szombathy patriarch, and why?

I came across The Mermaid of Seattle as part of a freebie offer: sign up for the author’s newsletter, and download the book. It looked interesting, so I happily signed up. For the most part, I enjoyed the time I spent in Blackwood’s reimagined Seattle.

Colette is a terrific character: she compassionate, and motivated by love and a fierce sense of justice. While other mermaids can use their song to seduce or even control minds, she uses her magic to help people. She makes the world a better place, one coffee at a time. And it is that sense of justice that compels her to become involved in the investigation into the theft and poisoning.

That mystery, though, felt a bit slight. The villain ‘s motivations didn’t really make much sense to me. While Colette was clever in how she dealt with the matter, I would have preferred a mystery with more at stake and a more dangerous opponent.

That being said, The Mermaid of Seattle is a fun little escapist getaway. Recommended to fans of The Arcane Casebook series by Dan Willis, The SPI Files by Lisa Shearin, and The Guild Codex by Annette Marie.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]

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