For me, the experience of reading Acid Jazz Singer was a little like going to a swimming pool; you dip your toe in the water, only to realise how cold it is and quickly pull away. Only a minute later you force yourself to immerse your whole body in, little by little. What I mean here is that I began the novel and was so unsure of the author’s style of writing that I closed my kindle after only two chapters. It was on my third attempt of starting the book that I fell under Travis’ spell and was then unable to stop reading, until the story’s bittersweet ending.
Travis tells his story at a frantic pace, which immediately unsettles the reader, particularly when he switches between his present and past. Occasionally I would find myself reading and reaching a point where I thought, “how did we get here?” and then retracing my steps to find the event I missed. Although some readers may find this frustrating, I quickly realised that my own mood of uneasiness matched Travis’ own.
Travis is a half-blood; half-human and half something he is yet to identify. On one hand he is a demon-hunter who slays at first glance, and on the other he is a loyal friend.
Ray was changed into something incomprehensible; a blood-drinker who is both male and female. Nya Rawlyns is careful to account for all the parts of this character and often in a paragraph, ‘he’ can abruptly change to ‘she’.
Travis and Ray have saved each other’s lives during the time they have been friends and it is this connection which has caused their relationship to evolve into something more complicated. Although this romance is a definitive part of the story, everything the characters do is governed by the politics of their paranormal world. Acid Jazz Singer becomes a thrilling and often frightening ride and we wonder whether we will reach the end with our protagonists still alive.
Acid Jazz Singer is unlike any other Urban Fantasy I have read and it is Nya Rawlyns’ unique story-telling ability which makes the novel so memorable. Although this is classified as being ‘LBGTQIA’, Nya Rawlyns does not alienate readers of other genres, which is another reason why I recommend it so highly.
Her name was RayLee. They called her the Acid Jazz Singer, her sultry voice mesmerizing human and demon alike. She’d been running for three years from her maker and only Travis McKenzie stood between her and the darkness that had become her life.
Travis hunted the hit squads of demons and paid lip service to the Sheriff of the city. The half-blood had gifts, of the magic, shifting kind—and something more. It made him a stone cold killer and the only thing that mattered in his life was safeguarding the woman he was falling in love with.
Vladimira was the oldest of her kind, an enforcer—a gun for hire to the highest bidder. Vamp, human, demon. It didn’t matter. It was all about the job … until the stakes changed and she found a reason to care.
The singer and the protector had a history. But that history changed when a southern bigot vamp turned Travis’ friend into a travesty—neither man, nor woman … but both. Travis fell hard for the trannie known as RayLee. He was having a harder time dealing with his best friend, Ray.
Then the game changes, and Travis and Ray have to rely on an assassin with a secret agenda and uncertain loyalties.
When the demon comes to claim Ray, Travis must walk through the bowels of hell to save the only being on earth he cares about.
The problem is … who is going to save Travis from himself?