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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
A Wicked Chance by Anna Flakk is the first book in the urban fantasy series, Paranormal Adventure Chronicles. Samantha “Sam” Unam Clark has forged her way to New York City despite the loud protestations of her father and is trying as hard as she can to keep her footing in the Big Apple. The murder of her mother is the driving force behind her dogged pursuit of achieving her dream: to work as an investigator for the New York Police Department. Having lost the job that will pay her rent, and her rent securing the apartment she needs to meet the NYPD's residency requirements, she turns to a loan shark to get her through until she can find a new job. There are those who joke that if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere, but for Sam, it all comes down to her ability to get to Hell and back—literally. “I'm not gonna lie, Mickey is a soul sucker. It would be my last step, but hey, if you need some and can pay it back real quick, he is your man.”
When I initially picked up A Wicked Chance by Anna Flakk, I was kind of ambivalent about what might come from its pages. Worldbuilding is tough enough for a seasoned author, but good underworld building by a debut novelist is improbable at best. I need not have been doubtful because Flakk crafts her characters and their shifting, tenuous worlds with vivid imagery and enough black comedy to make a reader push forward at a fiendish pace. Sam is frequently sarcastic and always on the verge of the next catastrophe. She is a complex protagonist with simple goals, she is incredibly relatable and authentic even as she's surrounded by all things demonic and paranormal. Flakk's other characters are given equal attention and I loved the character of Death. Yes, for real. Death. And she's a woman! Odin also makes a special appearance and you will be pleased to know that Hell has a management office, so it's not all bad. Seriously though, this is a fantastic book that I have no doubt will parlay into an even better series. The story does end on a cliffhanger, so be prepared to wait a bit for the next installment. I think it'll be worth the wait.