Red Fox - Karina Halle The first show of Experiment in Terror has aired...and it's not so good. Not to mention, Perry has lost her job at the ad agency (excellent bit of realism here!!), so she's worried about her future. Fortunately, Dex's old college band mate, Maximus, has a lead - the Lancasters in Red Fox, New Mexico have experienced some creepy paranormal activity. The problem? Dex and Perry have to pose as a married couple - and try to find out who amongst the Lancasters and their hired help is lying.

This series has proven to be a cure of what I call Wit's Endism. That's the point when I begin to wonder if I'll like ANYTHING I read and contemplate whether I even LIKE to read anymore. When this happens to me, I need a good book that reminds me why I love to read. Great characters, snappy dialogue, great pacing, good writing, interesting story - all these are the cure for Wit's Endism. And "Red Fox" was most definitely that cure for me.

The absolute best thing about "Red Fox" is the characters. Perry continues to be a great protagonist. She's smart, funny, sarcastic and relatable. She isn't perfect with everything, she sometimes makes mistakes, but more often than not she tries with all her heart. She really can be a compassionate person. I also liked how she was not a super skinny, super sexy vixen who deceived herself into thinking she was ugly. I get the impression that Perry is Every Woman - she could "use to lose" and is beautiful in a non-Hollywood fashion. All these traits make her a winner of a character in my book. About the only thing I dislike in Perry is a bit of what I detect as "girl hate". She immediately takes a disliking to Sarah, and then proceeds to look down on all the women who are eyeballing Dex. I'm not saying that Perry needed to be a "good, polite woman" and like everyone in her path, but there were few women for her to interact with on a civil level and that was a shame (one of the few things I disliked about the book).

Dex is such a complex character! WOW! I would love to smack him across the face and then make out with him right afterwards. I can tell he's got a laundry list of problems to sort through, and it's interesting to learn more about him - and yet, the mystery around him is never completely gone. If I had to name one character he was like, I'd say Han Solo - he's not quite good, but definitely doesn't have a black heart.

The new characters were pretty well developed as well. Maximus was great; I really grew to like him and hope he appears in future novels. I quickly grew to like Bird and Rudy; in fact, most of the Native American characters grew on me (I even liked the unlikeable Shan and Sarah). I really appreciated how Halle avoided using Heap Big Insulting Injun talk.

As for the mystery/story, I liked it but was a bit disappointed at the outcome. The inclusion of skinwalkers to this universe - win. I also loved how Dex and Perry went out of state to New Mexico. Hell, I even liked the stereotypical "We have to pretend we are married watch the sexual tension erupt". For some reason, it just WORKED here, unlike in other novels.

But the problem I had with the mystery was probably the conclusion. It wasn't bad, but I thought it a bit too obvious. I was hoping for a twist at the end, but no, the person from the beginning pretty much was the one that "dunnit". Also there is not a conclusion exactly; the culprits just disappear. But I don't actual consider that portion a problem - I think it's more realistic NOT to have the plot tie up in a neat little bow at the end.

Was this a perfect novel? No. I'd like to see more positive female characters, a bit more complex of a mystery, and perhaps some polishing in the writing (it was kinda weird to read Perry, from Oregon, use the British "bloody" in a sentence). But did I enjoy the hell out of myself? You betcha. And that's why I'm definitely continuing the series - it just proves that a book doesn't have to be perfect in every single way to be perfectly entertaining and enjoyable.