After the disappointment that was Hex, I was hoping my next read would be more enjoyable. Thankfully, the Urban Fantasy book, Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw was just that.
Meet Doctor Greta Helsing, medic to the differently living.
After inheriting a specialist clinic from her father, Greta looks after the supernatural residents of London, unknown by the human population, by treating all their medical needs.
However, as a string of murders plagues the ‘normal’ Londoners, a member of the supernatural society is their next victim. Greta will need all her medical training to keep her friends and herself alive while trying to put an end to this cult’s crimes.
First off, I adore the characters in this story. Greta is a no-nonsense hard working Doctor who is very passionate about her patients. While often tired and not making a lot to live on, she finds her line of work fulfilling. When the attacks hit close to home, she pushes herself in order to protect her paranormal patients and friends.
However, my favourite character has to be the host with the most, the vampire Ruthven. He is a sweetheart who not only shares a close bond with Greta but a man called August since Ruthven has looked after and been close friends with the family for a few decades.
Both himself and vampyre Varney are both based off characters from Penny Dreadfuls. In-universe, the fictional versions are indeed based on the ‘real’ characters and both of them hate how they are portrayed. I thought it was a fun nod to old-timey horror and gave an early insite in how they operate in their world.
Something I wish they talked about a bit more was how the supernatural blend in with the human population. There are other human doctors but we only hear about one, although that might be elaborated on in the later books.
The story moves at a good pace, flipping between different characters points of views. Even to the agonists at multiple times but they are only shown bit by bit, leaving some mystery around them.
Despite being set in the modern-day, Strange Practice has a Victorian atmosphere. Due in part to supernatural characters and murders in the dark in London. I’m not complaining since I have a bit of a soft spot for all things Victorian in nature. While you might see some twists coming, the story isn’t too predictable.
All in all, I adored Strange Practice. I haven’t read a lot of Urban Fantasy outside of Good Omens in quite some time and this book reignited my love of the genre. If Goodreads ratings are to be trusted it seems like this book gets a mixed reception and while I can understand why I personally recommend it for fans of the Supernatural and Urban Fantasy.