Rob Thurman, Doubletake

Posted April 17, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

Doubletake (Cal Leandros, #7)Doubletake by Rob Thurman
Series: Cal Leandros, 7
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seventh in the Cal Leandros dark urban fantasy series about the sole remaining Auphe demon and his brother, Niko. Based in New York City where the supernaturals are all around us…and we haven’t a clue.

My Take
I do love this series! Thurman is so dark, but, at the same time, too hilariously funny. I just love the sarcasm and Cal’s perspective on life. And his snarky T-shirts! And then when Thurman explores that taboo zone of unmanliness—sharing one’s feelings—well, there’s only so much a girl can take before she’s rolling on the floor.

Poor Cal. It’s all due to Niko’s influence that his more compassionate human side is holding on as opposed to the Auphe side that wants to revel in death and destruction. Especially when a baby kishi is clinging to your ankle with a death bite! Follow that up with the tweaker the para-hyena ate just before he takes ’em out…as Cal says, “They say drugs kill, but does anyone ever listen?”

Oh, man, a Jewish Puck?!? I dunno, for all the playing up Thurman did about Goodfellow’s family reunion, it didn’t seem so bad. Of course, that could be simply because Cal is immune to the pheromones and Niko is a pretty capable guy. And VERY handy with a sword. Even if that one puck did…oops…

This time around, Thurman is getting more introspective. There is more of an emphasis on how Niko achieved his particular philosophy about which of the supernaturals lives or dies. Cal has his own demons to work on as he struggles between Niko’s teachings and his other half’s desires. The question is, which desire will win out? Then there’s Grimm. Oh, yeah, he lives up to his name. Although, he did make a good point about vegetarians…

I love the very tight bond between Niko and Cal as well as the strong bond of friendship the boys have with Robin. Adding Promise to the mix creates a looser grouping, but no less loyal. It’s the interaction between Cal and Niko that is the deepest, though. I love what a contrast these two are, but let anyone threaten the other and they are one. Adding Robin and his sexual snark into the mix just makes it more fun.

The Story
It’s just your average, everyday day for the Leandros brothers. taking down a pack of para-hyenas. Sparing the babies and finding them a home. At least, until Robin calls with a dangerous job for the boys. A job that becomes more and more perilous as Cal and Niko make their way to Robin’s apartment just off Central Park. It looks like every supernatural in the city is fast making their way out of the city any way they can.

Seems Robin is hosting his family reunion in New York City and anyone who knows better is in a Pan-ic to get outta town before the pheromones hit. But, this isn’t the only family reunion in town. Niko’s father oozes out of the woodwork with a sudden urge to get acquainted with Niko. Then it’s Cal’s “half-brother”?? His months-long stalker. Storing up information and data about Cal. Wondering if Cal is good enough to take him. Is he worthy of his Auphe heritage.

We’ll just have to play our games and see who makes the better monster…

The Characters
Cal Leandros is half-Auphe and half-human and totally in his brother’s care. They’ve been partners all their lives when Niko did his best to raise Cal in spite of their sociopathic whoring mother Sophia. Niko is amazing. His zen calm, careful diet, and high sense of morality makes an amazing contrast with with slobbish, fast-food-eating Cal. Of course, when you add in Niko’s fighting skills and speed…it just gets better. The boys have each other’s back. Come. What. May.

Robin Goodfellow is Pan, Puck, a trickster, and…gasp…a used car salesman—with the mummified cats. He’s shacked up with Isaiah, a peri who owns a bar. Yep, a monogamous relationship. If his family ever finds out…? Well, let’s just say there is no place on heaven or hell Goodfellow can hide. Samyel is another peri and helps tend bar. Promise is a vampire and Niko’s lover. So much stronger than him, yet he needs to protect her.

Hephaestus is the Greek god of the forge. Master builder…although Robin has a few things to say about that! The problem is, Hephaestus is still holding a grudge against Robin, and it might not go so well at the gun factory.

Emilian Kalakos is Niko’s father. And Niko is meeting him for the very first time. The Vayash clan of the Rom have a problem and this problem is something every Vayash must aid in putting down. A fine time to press for those family bonds of unity…! Janus is a metal construct created by Hephaestus and is overly focused on the Leandros boys. Grimm is also half-Auphe and all mad. Seems he managed to escape before the slaughter at Nevah’s Landing (see Blackout) and now he wants to know if Cal is Auphe enough to help him sire the Second Coming.

The Cover
I think this blues and silver cover got dragged through the gravel there’s such a scratchy feel to it. It’s Cal down on one knee holding a sword, point down, as the wind swirls through his hair and his glance is wary, considering the “brother” who stands behind him, gun raised. Both men are surrounded by walls of buildings within the city and there’s a tense feeling of power about to be unleashed.

The title is true enough on at least two levels, for Cal does a Doubletake when he encounters Grimm just as he and Niko are taken aback by his father and by Janus.

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