“Hey, this isn’t rocket science – it’s paranormal fantasy. It’s supposed to be entertaining. It’s supposed to be fun. And that’s exactly what Stormwalker is – an engaging fusion of Native American mysticism, amateur sleuth mystery, fantasy, and (at times) steamy romance. Throw in vampires, a magical realm beneath our own, and the Loch Ness monster and you have yourself not only one heckuva read but also the start of what could be a wildly entertaining [paranormal romance] series!”
The story revolved around Janet Begay, a part-Navajo woman who possesses the ability to harness the powers of storms for her own use. While investigating the disappearance of a young woman in a remote desert town, Janet quickly realizes that her mysterious mother – who just may be a god – is trying to manipulate her for some nefarious purpose. After she is almost killed by a skinwalker, and arrested by an annoyingly by-the-book sheriff (who happens to be the missing woman’s fiancé), Janet is reunited with her first – and only – love: Mick, who just may have some supernatural powers of his own. “He was six-feet-six of solid muscle in jeans, a black T-shirt, and motorcycle boots, had a silver earring dangling from one ear, and dragon tattoos snaking down both arms. His hair was black, the wild curls of it just contained in a ponytail. He had the bluest eyes I’d ever seen, and I vividly recalled staring into them the night I lost my virginity…”
With Mick at her side – as well as a misfit group of allies that includes a drifter named Coyote, a female electrician with anger management issues, and a sentient mirror – Janet vows to not only solve the mystery surrounding the missing woman but to also face her mother and stop her plans...
Heat is a definite motif in Firewalker – Mick is a shapeshifting dragon (called firewalkers), pivotal sequences take place in Death Valley, and sunburns, heatstroke, desert wind, Vegas strip joints and habanero peppers are all referenced throughout. This is a hot, sexy series – that much is obvious – and the “all in,” wild and passionate relationship between Janet and Mick will have male and female readers alike thinking, “I’ll have what they’re having.”
Here’s just a taste of that hedonistic heat:
“I arched to meet Mick’s thrusts, my nails raking down his back. The tattoo that snaked across the small of his back, from hip to hip, was hot under my touch, my dragon-man barely containing his fire…”
But this series is so much more than steamy sex scenes linked together by a superficial storyline. James has created a sprawling supernatural world – very much like the realm created by Patricia Briggs for her Mercy Thompson series – inhabited by vampires, shapeshifters, mischievous gods, etc. that most humans (called “mundanes”) are totally clueless about. In fact, a big part of the storyline of Firewalker takes place between godlike characters that consider humans irrelevant.
How can I accurately describe this series? It’s a deeply thematic and utterly readable paranormal fantasy saga disguised as a self-indulgent romance. Underneath all of that mind-blowing, bed frame busting sex is a deeply character driven narrative with intricate and intriguing storylines.
I said it before: this isn’t rocket science – it’s paranormal fantasy. It’s supposed to be entertaining and fun. And that’s exactly what this saga is: literary escapism at its very best – for male and female readers!
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for almost the last two decades and has written more than 6,000 reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, and BarnesandNoble.com. In his free time, he reads.