Book Review: Strange Practice

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw, Dr. Greta Helsing #1

Greta Helsing inherited the family's highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta's been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.

I was quite intrigued by the cover and the synopsis of Strange Practice. It sounded like music to my ears. When I was imaging this story I thought that this book would take place somewhere in the 1700's or 1800's and not the modern day as it was. Should have looked better on the cover with the London Eye. Anyway this was not at all a let down to me, it only further build a great suspense. With my laboratory background those bits made this story speak to me. 

Meet Greta Helsing. She is following up in her father's footstep by running a medical practice. This isn't your normal doctor though, the Helsing family has been specializing in dealing and taking care of the supernatural creatures that roam in London. Think: vampires, werewolves and mummies among others. Everything for Greta is just normal, taking care of the ill supernatural. Right up until the moment that some of here clients exhibit strange symptoms and the news starts to mention of monks that are attacking both the natural and supernatural inhabitants of London. Although Greta isn't a Sherlock Holmes, she has quite the arsenal of equipment to start an investigation of her own like a Mass Spec. Mostly because the normal inhabitants of London aren't aware that there is supernatural scene going on right in their city. 

When you look at the story, you will directly notice that Vivian Shaw carried out quite the investigation in certain topics. This all reflects for the better of the story making it all flow a lot better. The storyline by itself is a thrill to read, it combines a storyline directly involving Greta and her supernatural friends as well as imposing a much bigger Jack the Ripper kind of spin that takes place mostly off screen. Vivian Shaw furthermore creates a solid balance between the several themes of the book: urban fantasy, horror and history as well as a healthy dose of humor. 

The characters just as the story are a thrill to read about. Greta makes up a big part of the story and you see her develop and come out of her shell and more confident as the storyline progresses and answers are being found. The supernatural side of the story is just fun. The vampires and mummy all have some stereotypical thing about them that doesn't sound as just another cliché. It fits. I most loved Ruthven. He had something working about him. 

Vivian Shaw definitely hit all the right marks with this first Greta Helsing installment. Bring on the next Greta adventure!







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