by Deborah Blake
You may think you know about Baba Yaga: the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales who lives in a hut that moved about on chicken legs, rides in a mortar and pestle, and eats small children if they misbehave. But you’d be wrong. For Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather, a title carried by a chosen few whose job it is to guard the borders between our world and the Otherworld and keep the balance of nature.
Barbara Yager is a Baba Yaga; trained since childhood by the previous holder of the title. Older than she looks, powerful beyond measure, and so far removed from the life of normal mortals, she has little in common with the human life she was born to. She travels through the country in an Airstream trailer, riding a classic BMW motorcycle and masquerading as an herbalist and researcher while she fulfills her duties. When she is summoned by a woman who is desperate to find her missing child, Barbara finds herself tangled in a web of lies and deceit, battling human enemies and Otherworld creatures, and most unexpectedly, her own heart.
Liam McClellan is the Sheriff of rural Clearwater County. Since a tragedy tore his life to pieces years before, he has dedicated himself to his job; protecting and serving the people who look to him to enforce the law. But after three children disappear in four months, without a trace or clue, Liam is beginning to wonder if he should hang up his badge. The sudden appearance of a beautiful woman with a dubious background and a curious habit of turning up where he least expects her makes him place her at the top of his suspect list, despite her uncanny gift for helping those in need. But as the danger mounts, and weird and inexplicable occurrences beset Liam and those he vowed to keep safe, he has to wonder if Barbara Yager is his enemy—or his only chance to save the lives of innocents in a world he no longer recognizes.
Natural gas drilling, political shenanigans, grieving parents, three mysterious motorcycle riders, twisted beasts out of nightmares, and yes, there are dragons. Because when Baba Yaga comes to town, nothing will ever be the same again.
You have probably heard of Baba Yaga—the archetypal wicked witch of Russian tales who lived in a log hut that walked about on chicken legs, rode through the forests in a giant mortar that she steered with a pestle, and ate small children if they didn’t behave. According to legend, Baba Yaga usually appeared as an ugly old crone, although she also wore other faces, and sometimes gave aid to a worthy seeker, if such a one could pass her tests.
You probably think you know who Baba Yaga is. But you’d be wrong. Because I am Baba Yaga, and this is my story
What can I say but Baba Yaga puts the rocks in my jellyroll and I loved Wickedly Dangerous. This tale is a wonderful blending of the legend of Baba Yaga brought up to date with all the flair a modern urban fantasy could possibly offer.
The story opens in a small town where children have gone missing. The hunky, emotionally damaged Sheriff, Liam, is out searching in some of the more remote areas for possible clues when he stumbles upon a clearing with an Airstream trailer parked smack dab in the middle and a beautiful Barbara Yager in residence. Barbara is the current Baba Yaga and she has been tasked to guard the borders between our world and the Otherworld to help maintain balance in both. Barbara is not really sure why she has been summoned this area, but she knows all is not right in Clearwater County, and finds herself caught up in the middle of all the intrigue surrounding the missing children and vows to bring them home and deliver justice.
The writing is very well executed and the characters are memorable, as well as a delight to get to know. The synopsis gives a great overview of the storyline and I will not try to improve on this, but will add that Wickedly Dangerous delivers humor, as well as intrigue with plenty of action, and a little side serving of smexy thrown in the mix. The ending is very satisfying and overall, in my opinion, this is a superb beginning for a new urban fantasy series, which I am eagerly anticipating following. I would recommend this book to fans of good meaty urban fantasy reads. I received this book from NetGalley.
About this Author:website-FB-twitter-blog
Author of seven non-fiction books from Llewellyn. Circle, Coven & Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice (2007), Everyday Witch A to Z (2008), The Goddess is in the Details (2009), Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (2010) Witchcraft on a Shoestring (2010), Everyday Witch Book of Rituals, and The Witch's Broom. I am also the author of the Baba Yaga series from Berkley Romance, including Wickedly Magical (novella), Wickedly Dangerous, and Wickedly Wonderful.
When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker, tarot reader, and energy healer. She lives in a 100 year old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.