Tag Archives: C.E Murphy

Truthseeker by C.E. Murphy — a review


One of the very first books I bought for my Kindle was C.E. Murphy’s Urban Shaman book. It looked interesting enough, and a coworker was reading another of Murphy’s series at the time, and I love first contact stories. I finished the last book in the Walker Papers a few months ago (waaaaaaah!) and I put off reading more of her books because I like knowing there is still a nice stack waiting for me.

Waited as long as I could. Finally took this one out from the library.

Gifted with an uncanny intuition, Lara Jansen nonetheless thinks there is nothing particularly special about her. All that changes when a handsome but mysterious man enters her quiet Boston tailor shop and reveals himself to be a prince of Faerie. What’s more, Dafydd ap Caerwyn claims that Lara is a truthseeker, a person with the rare talent of being able to tell truth from falsehood. Dafydd begs Lara to help solve his brother’s murder, of which Dafydd himself is the only suspect.

Acting against her practical nature, Lara agrees to step through a window into another world. Caught between bitterly opposed Seelie forces and Dafydd’s secrets, which are as perilous as he is irresistible, Lara finds that her abilities are increasing in unexpected and uncontrollable ways. With the fate of two worlds at stake and a malevolent entity wielding the darkest of magic, Lara and Dafydd will risk everything on a love that may be their salvation—or the most treacherous illusion of all.


This book, and it’s follow-up, reminded me that for all that I talk about how I don’t like books that feature elves and/or fairies, I actually do. The sudden intrusion of the supernatural into a seemingly mundane world will always be my favorite set-up — and I’m enjoying that it’s such a popular set up right now.

Lara is used to her annoying little quirk, and so is her best friend Kelly — but whereas Lara has allowed her truth-detected curse to guide her to the background of life and nurtured a desire to be unnoticed, Kelly wants great things for her best friend. Or, a least, good things.

Or, at least, a good date. Which is how Lara comes to Daffyd — pardon me, David’s — attention, in the first place.

Even knowing that Lara is not quite ‘normal’, Lara and her world are normal enough, until Daffyd reveals his true nature and changes everything.

This series is the second series I’ve read in which the author sets things both earthside and in some otherworld, yet this otherworld of Daffyd’s is fresh and new and different. The characters are engaging, and we quickly come to care about the fate of both worlds. I had high expectations going into this book, and Murphy did not disappoint!

Fans of Mark Chadborne, Partricia Briggs, Seanan McGuire, and Richelle Mead might enjoy C.E Murphy’s work.


Plans for today include: knitting, more knitting, a bit of knitting on the side, and maybe some reading. Beth and I are having a hoot listening to my Kindle read Thunderbird Falls while we attend to our fiber crafts. I’m roughly halfway through the blanket I’m working on, and today? Today I turn my first heel and work my gussets. I shall be learning things like picking up stitches, and I’m terrified. But I’m going to do it, damn it all.

Second trip through, I still adore the Walker Papers. But, man oh man does Joanne annoy the *heck* out of me in this book. Too many shades of past me, likely, so I don’t hold it against her.

Up next we’ll be listening to Faye Kellerman’s The Ritual Bath. After that, hopefully we’ll have our hands on the audiobook of Discovery of Witches, back out from the library.

Writing has taken a backseat to Christmas knitting. And mourning-distractions.

Why is 5:30am acceptable . . .

and 5am doesn’t seem to be, to my body? I’ve been up since then, have showered, and still the body is all, “mmmrppmphh?”

Haven’t posted in a few days. Have been writing. Still crazy excited tickled over the new book. I’m also starting a new editing project (we’ll call it Jbook#2) and am enjoying that a *ton*. I’m honored of course to be a first reader, but mostly I’m excited to be able to get to see it now rather than having to wait. 🙂

Currently reading: Radical Homemakers and am looking forward to devouring it. I only got it yesterday, and I’m only on the introduction, and so far that’s covering a lot of what I already know, but . . . I can skip prefaces and acknowledgements, but I can’t seem to skip introductions. I’ve also got Winter Moon because I’m tryin go read the Walker Papers stories in order, and I’m just finishing up (today, hopefully, though Radical Homemakers may bump it) Susan Krinard’s Bride of the Wolf. Now that I’m thinking of it, Susan may get her own post at some point. I love her work.

Just finished Womens Work the other day. I owe reviews for about three books now; look for them in the future. 🙂

And, 5am is still wrong.

Book Review: Thunderbird Falls

Thunderbird Falls is the second of C.E. Murphy’s The Walker Papers and is a pretty great sequel. (Minor spoilers for Urban Shaman to follow, be advised) In fact, this is the book the solidified my love of her storytelling. I was hesitant going in. What if she kept bringing different gods from different places into it and began to compare and contrast? What if this was when I started to lose my patience with that sort of attention given to them? What if Joanne kept dragging her feet and bugged me to no end? How do you follow up a story that starts with the main character ultimately having to battle an ancient god in order to survive? What can possibly come next?

Whereas Urban Shaman was largely about Joanne’s initiation into the world of shamanism, Thunderbird Falls delved further into the experience, including letting us experience with Joanne a sort of shaman-sickness that ends up threatening her very world. I rather see this book as part two of the initiation.

When Joanne finds a woman dead and reaches out to her spirit to get some answers, she finds herself suddenly embraced by the deceased woman’s coven of witches. At an exceptionally vulnerable time in her life (being killed and coming back from it all shiny and sparkly takes it out of you), Joanne turns to them for answers and guidance, and nearly blindly swallows what they’re selling.

She makes some pretty horrible choices. We can see her making them. We know she’s not thinking straight, is being duped, will utterly regret what she’s doing, but it all makes sense to her, and let’s not forget, she doesn’t actually want to be a shaman, folks.

Poor, poor Joanne.

When her back is against a wall, though, Joanne can hold her own with the best of them, and she discovers that her ego is a small price to pay to put right what she helped put wrong.

I’m thinking my reviews of this series is going to continue to be: Yes, awesome, go buy, go read, do it now! I’m trying to slow down my consumption of these books, or I’m going to run out too soon.

Book Review: Urban Shaman

Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy

Urban Shaman is the first of C.E. Murphy’s series, ‘The Walker Papers’ (as of this writing there are currently six books out in this series) centered around Joanne Walker. We learn a lot about Joanne right away: she’s pretty tall, she wears a false bravado about herself to keep the world at bay, she thinks like the mechanic she is, she’s just buried her mother, and she’s got a pretty interesting mix of Irish and Native American heritage that gives her her real name of Siobhán Walkingstick. Oh, right, and she decides that saving damsels in distress after having only seen them from an airplane while said damsel is on the ground makes complete sense. Too bad the damsel seems to be running from the Wild Hunt itself . . .

You can’t blame Joanne for not realizing that getting the way of the Hunt is a bad idea.

I absolutely love this book. It’s true that I’m not a hard sell: ‘First contact’ is one of my favorite themes. I love the exploration of different worlds and realities, be they fantasy or science fiction. I love the interaction between humans and sentient non-humans, be they aliens or gods or spirits or talking frogs. I’m very happy with the plethora of urban fantasy books that are out there these days, though it is true that they don’t all live up to the same quality. I’m a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s books, the books of Richelle Meade that I’ve read (so far, only the first two of the Dark Swan series), I thoroughly enjoy most of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry books; I cannot sing praise enough for Patricia Briggs’ work. Those are some of the few books I’ve read that I think come closest to C.E. Murphy’s work.

For all that I’m not a hard sell, in some respects I am. I’m pagan; more, I’m hard polytheist. This means I not only believe that various gods are real, I believe they are real, are interested in interacting with us, can and do so, that there are different realms and realities that we can, and do, visit and interact with. So, while I really adore gods as characters, I also have a hard time with gods as characters. You may have read before – I have issues with all Celtic gods having to be faeries. Oh, I don’t begrudge the storyteller – both Laurell K. Hamilton and Patricia Briggs do it well – in their stories it totally fits the world. It’s still a pet peeve, and so, for beings like Coyote and Cernunnos to appear on stage and to not have to deal with the story teller trying to make distinctions between them (as if one is better than the other or more than the other or whatnot), was very nice.

The storytelling is very nice. Joanne is tough, without being overly sarcastic. (Not a bad trait; I do enjoy me my sarcastic heroines). She’s new to a lot of what she’s dealing with, and get to see her struggling with it, but like any good hero, she mans up when she needs to in order to get the job done. C.E Murphy obviously has done her homework with regards to the pagan scene – refreshing, again – and while some esoteric stuff isn’t quite the way it “really” is, it makes a good story.

So, if you enjoy Kelley Armstrong, Richelle Meade, Patricia Briggs (another pretty great mechanic heroine who is totally different from Joanne), I think you may want to check out Urban Shaman and give Joanne a chance!

(doesn’t hurt that they’re set in Seattle and are almost local!)