13630494“The wolf said, “You know, my dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone.”

Red Riding Hood said, “I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid, worldview. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be on my way.” ― James Finn Garner, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

“She talks like you. It’s not every day you hear a four-year-old say Prince Charming is a douchebag who’s only holding Cinderella back.”

“That’s my girl.” ― Emma Chase, Tangled

Once upon a time, a girl in a red hood met a wolf. And then? Everything went to pot. Well, that is how it goes, isn’t it? You think it is love, true and total devotion. Then he punches you in the gut and wanders away, whistling a merry tune, leaving you laying in the forest, staring into the eyes of the Grim Reaper. Pft. And as if that’s not enough, “an egomaniacal fairy godmother, an arrogant genie, and a couple of wandering plagiarists whose idea of cultural preservation is stealing the stories of unsuspecting villagers and passing them off as their own” get into a pissing contest – and suddenly? You find your red-hooded backside stuck in the Here and Now as an enforcer for the fairy tale cops, and isn’t that just a hard, cold awakening?

Now, Goldilocks and Snow White are well paid prostitutes. (Well, in the original tale, the three bears were bachelor brothers – and the whole ménage thing? Well, duh. And Snow White’s Prince wasn’t so ‘princely’ after all – he dumped her for an Ordinary, and the prenuptial agreement left her without a dime. Cheating creep.) Of course, that isn’t the only cheating creep of a Prince in the woodpile . . . Mistress Mary Mary Quite Contrary is the FMA prosecuting attorney, Vlad Dracula Is a business man, and The Sandman? He makes The Godfather and all of John Carpenter’s bad guys look like characters from My Little Pony.

When Red goes to collect Dave “The Pied Piper” Hamlin to haul him back to jail for his “latest screwup”, i.e., being a registered sex offender who’d blown the terms of his parole: no kids, no hookers, no booze – and he blows his head off in the alley outside the Red Door, Snow’s den of delights – things suddenly get very, very nasty as Tale bodies start dropping in very bloody, very savage ways. And the suspect list is very short – consisting of three of Red’s former lovers. Seth “Big Bad” Wolf. Vlad Dracula (the Literary and Nursery Rhyme Migration brought over some really ‘interesting’ characters). And Todd Caliban. Shakespeare wrote Todd as a monster, but he also wrote Prospero as one – Caliban was only trying to save his island from the depredations of an invading force, after all. Red was more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt – and her bed . . . And since Vlad came over, and was ‘captured’ and ‘rehabilitated’ by Red he has been behaving himself. (Hasn’t he?) But all signs point to Seth, Red’s first, and most beloved. Even if he did rip her heart out and stomp on it – and then leave her in the forest to die . . . what women put up with for their men. Sigh.

Al Addin, the FMA Chief Director, (and just incidentally the master of the genie mixed up in the aforementioned ‘a genie, a fairy godmother, etc.’ scenario) knows they have to get this case under control, pronto, before any more Tales are killed – and before the Ordinaries get ahold of something that could blow the Tales existence out of the proverbial water. Enter Nate “Grim Reaper” Grimm, detective extraordinaire, as her newly assigned side-kick. As they work through the case together things get even bloodier as Trish “Little Miss” Muffet, the coroner and lead investigator (So not afraid of spiders, just sayin’) finds more and more Tales on her slab in the morgue. And Red seems to be right in the crosshairs of the killer.

This is fairytale on crack – a modern, updated, happy-sad, hopeful-disturbing tale of humour and horror that kept me reading until my eyes stuck open and I had to turn out the light. Sharp and witty, this story cuts with a wicked blade, turning literary and fairy tale characters into a contemporary parody of life. Awesomesauce!! (Yes, I stole that word from Celia Kyle – hey, it’s an awesomesauce word! LOL)

“Did I ever tell you the difference between a Northern fairy tale and a Southern one?” she asked him, indulging herself and letting her head rest on his shoulder. God, he felt good. Her man. Where her head was meant to lie, right there, on him.

“What’s the difference?”

“A Northern one starts ‘once upon a time,’ while a Southern one starts ‘y’all ain’t going to believe this shit.” ― Erin McCarthy, Hot Finish

I LOVE this book!!! And I look forward to reading more of the Transplanted Tales series.

If you like my review, please let me know by clicking “Like” on Amazon. It helps the authors I review by drawing attention, and helps me as well. Thanks!

Oh, and as an aside? Hey! PUBLISHERS!!! Now THIS is how a cover of a book about a strong woman character SHOULD look . . . Can we just freakin’ STOP with the half naked male chests? Please? Pretty please with a “I’m not buying any more books with half naked men on the cover” warning label slapped on the front? Thanks.

AAANNNNDDDDD of course, that whole, “No More Naked Men” thing gets blown out of the water due to the other books in the series having blown the positive beginning of RED and putting HALF-NAKED MALES on the covers if the following books  . . . EVEN for the story of Lavender, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother! PFT. If I hadn’t read Red first? I doubt I would continue, based on the covers alone. . .  Grrrrrrr. Don’t get me wrong, hot bodies are good (especially the one with Nate Grimm on the cover – those painted on tattoos are gorgeous!) but still – do publishers think all we care about is the body on the cover, not the contents of the book? Humph. The covers just shove the books directly into the PR/Romance category, catering to readers who only care about nooky, not good storylines. And this was a killer storyline! Wake up, Publishers . . . we readers who prefer good stories will abandon your books willy-nilly because we expect the books to contain mearly pablum for the ‘sex only’ crowd.  Chocolate is a tasty treat – but in excess gives you gas. 

Rant concluded.