My review is cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/new-reviews/nine-lights-over-edinburgh-by-harper-fox
Detective Inspector James McBride is on the verge of bringing down the head of a human-trafficking ring. Then his cover is blown, getting McBride kicked off the case and reprimanded by his superior for his drinking problem. McBride isn’t willing to let the case go, however, and the fact that he’s assigned to security for a visiting Israeli ambassador isn’t about to distract McBride from his mission. But McBride’s good intentions take a hit when he spies the ambassador’s head of security. Tobias Leitner fascinates McBride, making him want something he hasn’t had in a very long time. Then McBride’s daughter is kidnapped by the very men he’s trying to bring down and McBride has no one to turn to but Toby. It’ll take a holiday miracle to bring these two men together while rescuing McBride’s daughter and salvaging his career.
Harper Fox brings the bright and seedy sides of Edinburgh to life in Nine Lights Over Edinburgh. The vividness of Ms. Fox’s prose was a delight to read. Yet, there’s so much going on in Nine Lights Over Edinburgh that the story feels a bit too jam packed and perhaps would have benefitted from a longer format. I felt like I never had the time to fully appreciate any aspect of the story.
What I like about Ms. Fox’s work is that she isn’t afraid of creating hardened characters and McBride is definitely on the gritty side. He isn’t likeable, per se, which made becoming invested in his story a bit difficult, but he isn’t uninteresting. The story is much more about McBride than it is about him and Toby as a pair. This is a pity, for Toby seemed to have real possibility and I would have liked to have seen him fleshed out a bit more, which also would have helped the romance aspect of the story. All in all, Nine Lights Over Edinburgh was a bit too much in too short a space. I wanted to love it, and perhaps if it had been a full-length novel I might have enjoyed it more.
Note: Nine Lights Over Edinburgh is also available in the His for the Holidays anthology.