Darker Days by Jus Accardo ARC Review

Jessie Darker goes to high school during the day, but at night she helps with the family investigation business. Cheating husbands and stolen inheritances? They're your girls, but their specialty is a bit darker. Zombie in your garage? Pesky Poltergeist living in your pool? They'll have the problem solved in a magical minute. For a nominal fee, of course...

When gorgeous new client, Lukas Scott, saunters into the office requesting their help to find a stolen box, it sounds like a simple case, until the truth comes out. The box is full of Sin.

Seven deadly ones, in fact.

They've got five days to recapture the Sins before they're recalled by the box, taking seven hijacked human bodies with them. Easy peasy, except for one thing...

There's a spell that will allow the Sins to remain free, causing chaos forever. When the key ingredient threatens the life of someone she knows, Jessie must make the ultimate choice between love and family... Or lose everything.

Jessie Darker is a feisty, trouble magnet. High school student by day, sassy, smart mouthed, monster chaser by night. The Darker Agency investigates cheating spouses, stolen property, and the occasional zombie, pet possession or spirit. It's easier on the unsuspecting public not to know exactly what it is that goes bump in the night. The Darker family have lived and breathed the unexplained for generations, and Jessie wouldn't have it any other way. While other children were reading fairytales, she could tell you that the last thing a zombie wants to do is munch on his latest victim. She charges into her cases, often leaving mayhem, destruction and a rising damages bill behind. So when Lukas Scott walks into the office with a very unique case, even the daring and enthusiastic Jessie is somewhat skeptical.

Lukas needs help, urgently. The seven deadly sins have been let loose on world and have inhabited the bodies of six innocent hosts, the seventh being Wrath. Lukas is a sin with an awfully bad temper... But he's also human. Having been banished to the box of sin over a century ago, Lukas hasn't aged a day since he was captured at eighteen years old, in the year 1864. His betrothed wife to be, Meredith Wells, casting a spell on the handsome and wealthy Lukas, transferring the sin of Wrath to his fragile human form in the ultimate act of betrayal, after Meredith was caught with another man. Lukas needs help recapturing the sins, lust, greed, sloth, envy, pride, glutony and wrath, sacrificing his own freedom in the process. Unless he can find a witch stemming from the Wells family tree to oversee the transfer of his sin to another host, he is fated to a life inside the box... But with a mere seven days to find the unleashed sins and the stolen box in which they are kept, the Darker Agency is on the case, and quickly. Seven Sins, six innocent people, with a five day deadline.

Lukas trails Jessie to school, under the guise of being her out of town cousin, but best friend Kendra isn't buying it. The intuitive young witch may have not come into her power just yet, but she knows a long drink of tall, dark and handsome when she sees it. Lukas is an explosive waiting to detonate, reining in his anger when Vida, the sin of Lust, makes an appearance in the cafeteria... And all hell breaks loose, literally. Before long, Jessie has an obsessed admirer, classmate Garrett, who has been infected by lust. When the sin of Greed arrives, the town plunges into a looting frenzy, including Kendra. 

But something isn't right, the sins are keeping a relatively low profile and her worried parents insist on keeping Jessie off the radar of one of the world's oldest evils. Shadowing Lukas does have it's benefits though, he's a gentleman, he's handsome and has a beautiful spirit and... Jessie begins to fall for him. Having never had a boyfriend, nor wanting one, Jessie is determined not to live the life of her parents. Her mortal mother having fallen in love with her demonic father. Half demon Jessie can't fall in love, only to lose Lukas back into the sin box.

With time running out, Jessie can't sit helpless, she needs to help and enlists the aid of Lukas. Capturing a sin is no easy task, you must outwit, outplay and never underestimate their yearning for freedom. But it seems that the sins are awaiting further instructions, puppets being manipulated by something far greater than they and what better way to devise a plan of attack than to visit the local necromancer, calling on Simon Darker, the original Darker who's death inspired the Darker Agency, and the person who was able to trap the sins within their box, and securing it in what he thought would be its final resting place. It was Simon's death that sealed the Darker family fate.

But when the Darker curse is revealed, it seems that the very person who lifted the curse, may just be able to save Lukas from returning to the box. It all goes to he'll in a hand basket, literally, when Jessie's parents are taken. To free them in time, she'll need to make a deal with the devil himself... And she's not the only one.

I loved Darker Days, it had the wit, cheek and pure entertainment that young adult readers have come to expect from Ms Accardo. Jessie Darker is a sassy, bold and likeable heroine. She jumps into every situation with both feet, in a shoot first, ask questions later mentality. But it isn't until she crosses path with Lukas, is when she truly learns what 'Monster Mashing' is.

Being born over a century ago, Lukas has the charm and grace of a southern gentlemen. In what seems as a mild annoyance at being thrown together, develops into a witty, sarcastic and loving relationship, slowly over the course of the book.

I loved the inclusion of Mister Winkie, the demonically possessed Corgi that follows Jessie home from a pet possession case. He'll morph in and out during intense situations with a cloud of black smoke, only to fall asleep, drool or wag his tail. 

It was brilliant, funny and original. I loved it! Kudos Ms Accardo.

Darker Days
(The Darker Agency: Book One)
Written By Jus Accardo
Expected Publication 19 / 08 / 2013
Thank you to Anjana
and the team at Entangled Publishing 

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