Stiff Competition (Marnie Baranuik Between the Files) — a review

The latest release by A.J. Aalto in this urban fantasy doesn’t disappoint.  Despite being an “in-between” short story, the “Stiff Competition” manages to keep the humor of Marnie and Co alive, but deals with the heavier quesiton of morality and, as Marnie puts it “Capital-R Right”, as well.  Marnie tackles her questioning of what makes a person good? What makes them evil?  Can something evil assert enough influence to make a person evil? All of this is addressed with the same irreverent lack of respect for authority that Marnie always has.

Aalto delivers on bringing characters to life, once again, with the introduction of a coven of black witches.  And if you thought that Marnie, Harry, and Wes were unstoppable with their powers, this one proves, once again, that there are ways around magic.  The antics of the characters as well as the promise of “more” from characters absent has me eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Aalto seems to have a few typos and spelling errors in this one that I don’t recall being in the previous stories, however, nothing to truly interrupt reading (and I will probably forget them, too).   Overall, this is a good solid series with a flawed heroine who manages to blunder her way to the finish…giving the reader a good laugh while saving the day.

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