This series just keeps getting better and better! Mercy Thompson is a lot of things: a VW mechanic, walker who can go shift into a coyote, and above all, a really good friend. The last is demonstrated by her willingness to go against powerful forces when her friend, mentor, and former boss Zee is arrested for a murder he did not commit. Mercy sets out to prove his innocence even though it may mean upsetting the very powerful and very vengeful fae. Years before the fae revealed themselves to the human world with mixed results. Many fae now live on reservations away from humans who are largely afraid of them.When a human is killed and Zee is found at the scene of the crime, he becomes the obvious suspect. The powers that be in the fae world know Zee is innocent but are willing to risk losing one of their own to appease human law enforcement and put the case to bed. That is not okay with Mercy.
Iron Kissed, book number three in the Mercy Thompson series, was really interesting. At the end it got really heavy, tackling issues like sexual assault, identity, and what consent really means. It blew me way. I didn't expect such intensity from a series centering around werewolves, vampires, fae, and ghosts. Paranormal might be seen as escapist fare, but this series is grounded in real emotions.
Mercy is quickly becoming my favorite paranormal heroine. She is such a richly drawn character. She is tough and vulnerable, lonely but resistant to entering a relationship, and always, always, a formidable challenge. People continually underestimate her to their detriment. She cares about everyone. Making her different from everyone else - she's not a werewolf, a vampire, fae, or entirely human - allows her a degree of empathy that extends beyond her own "family" or "species" in a way other characters aren't able to.
The guys of the Mercy Thompson series are pretty awesome too. Brigg does a great job of writing men who are strong and powerful without being too obnoxious and controlling, or at least who are confronted with their obnoxiousness when needed. Not that they don't have their issues, but on the whole the men in Mercy's life are good guys. There's Adam, the local pack alpha. He is a leader who understands the importance of taking the time to hear what his pack members have to say. He walks a fine line between being dominant without being excessively domineering, well most of the time. He wants Mercy as his mate but will not coerce her into it. Sam, Mercy's first love, still cares about her but is as unsure as Mercy is as to what the future holds for them. They are both protective of her but try to resist protecting her too much. Warren and Kyle's relationship is also refreshing to read about. Warren, not surprisingly, still has to deal with issues related to members of the wolf pack who don't accept his sexuality but it is clearly their problem, not Warren's. He has settled nicely into his relationship with Kyle. Even Ben, the British werewolf who was so obnoxious in earlier books, comes off rather nicely in Iron Kissed. I hope there is more of Ben in future books.
In sum, I am really loving this series.