Organ Reapers by Shay West

Organ Reapers by Shay West(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Detective Elliott “Eli” Robinson and his new partner, Ava Aguilar, are baffled by a series of brutal murders happening in their fair city.

No evidence, no eyewitnesses…only mutilated corpses with missing internal organs.

When Eli and Ava stumble upon evidence of similar gruesome crimes around the globe, they realize there is more to the murders, but the answers continue to elude them. In a race against time, Eli and Ava must figure out who is behind the killings and stop them before more people die.

But the answers will take them out of their comfort zone and into the realm of the fantastic: another world with a different set of rules, and a leader who has no qualms about killing.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook from the author’s agent in exchange for an honest review.]

When I saw the blurb for this book, I just knew that I had to read it.  The whole ‘detectives must solve mysterious murders that are increasing’ trope is nothing new to me but when I saw that the murderers are not human at all, but instead come from another world, I thought Organ Reapers would be a winner.

And you know what?  I wasn’t wrong; I ended up loving this book more than I thought I would.

You see, at first you have the typical “I don’t need a partner” detective in Eli but when Ava comes onto the scene things change.  Eli cleans up his act a bit and eventually Ava grows on him as she provides such a handy contrast to his brooding excesses.  And when the murders become more frequent and they discover that they’re happening worldwide, Eli is pretty happy to have a partner that can connect the dots like Ava.

Likewise, Tani and Keena’s partnership in the other world, the one that butchers humans to steal their organs, start out pretty typically.  They are believers in a cause, become disillusioned and start a de facto rebellion to overthrow the established order.  Only things are not so simple because they’re the only ones openly rebelling and once they travel to Earth to try to set things right, they have a huge price on their heads.  And when the two accidental rebels cross paths with the two detectives things get interesting.

The characterization was very, very good through the entire story.  All of the characters grew as people by the end of the book and I felt like their conflicts were resolved realistically, if not completely resolved.  It leaves room for a sequel but at the same time, I wasn’t mad at Shay West for leaving her readers completely dangling.  It was an excellent medium.

What I really thought was interesting was the world-building of Tani and Keena’s world.  It’s sort of like an alternate world but is in many ways similar to Medieval Europe.  Now that sounds like a recipe for extreme boredom, but what’s interesting is the technology of the gateway to Earth as well as the fact that they can (and frequently do) do organ transplants.  So you have advanced medical technology and portal technology combined with a very feudal way of life for a very interesting contrast.  I personally would have liked a bit of a better explanation for the portal and how it came to be, but it wasn’t a major issue because it didn’t detract from the world-building or the plot.

As for the plot, not only was it fast-paced (while being largely character-driven) it was also very interesting.  There were lots of twists and turns and although I did predict the ending, it was still very satisfying.  I didn’t really get bored and what really interested me was the fact that at different points in the novel, I was rooting for different protagonists.  At first I was firmly on the side of Eli and Ava, but then I began to feel a little more sympathetic toward Tani and Keena.  I won’t give out any spoilers, but by the end your preconceived notions about who the good guys are and who the bad guys are will probably be destroyed.

I really have no complaints about Organ Reapers.  It’s an exceptionally well thought-out book with realistic and easy to relate to characters combined with a great plot and pacing.  You can’t really ask for much more, can you?

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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