This is the first book in a new urban fantasy series, InCryptid. It has a much more humorous tone than the grittier and darker Toby Daye novels and has a few romantic sub plots worked into both the main story and the back story. It is about a family of cryptozoologists whose ancestors decamped from a monster hunting organization known as the Covenant of St. George. The Covenant believes that all “unnatural” creatures should be exterminated, but the Prices believe they should be studied, and only hunted down if individuals prey on humans.
Our Heroine is Verity Price. She works part time as a cocktail waitress at a strip club when she is not conducting research, patrolling for dangerous cryptids, arguing with cryptid mice, or competing as a professional ballroom dancer. Her life becomes extra exciting when she runs into an operative from the Covenant of St. George, Dominic De Luca. De Luca has been sent by the Covenant to assess whether a “purge” of the cryptid population needs to take place. Verity objects to this strongly, and in a fit of sincere outrage at his interference in “her” city, she gives away a very important secret: The Price family is alive and well.
From that less than auspicious first meeting, the two end up working together to unravel cause of mysterious disappearances among the sentient cryptids in the city. This leads them to the discovery that there may be a snake cult in town, and the possibility that dragons may not be extinct after all. (It also leads them into a romantic relationship, but refreshingly, it doesn’t really seem to follow the “standard” paranormal romance tropes. I also liked that initially, the reason why he doesn’t report Verity to the Covenant is because he doesn’t want to lose control of the case, not because he is motivated by being attracted to Verity.)
There are some wonderful moments of character interaction in this book. Verity is a fun character with a lot of attitude and wit and her unorthodox professions are a nice departure from the usual “criminal investigation type” that you usually see in urban fantasy. Her interactions with her family and the off the cuff references to her extremely convoluted family history were genuine, fascinating, and occasionally hilarious. I also adored Verity’s initial encounters with Dominic, the combination of Dominic’s pompous and often self-righteous manner in combination with Verity’s more snarky attitude was comedy gold.
This is a great start to a new series, and I can’t wait to see the next book.