Shadow Service Volume 1

By Cavan Scott

Shadow Service Volume 1, a novel by Cavan Scott
Book details Books in the series About the author

Some of my favourite Urban Fantasy is about a normal world that is unaware of the creatures that lurk in the night. Whilst we are all safely asleep, there is are demons and witches lurking around the corner. Most of us will never even know that these things exist, but what if we did require someone’s help? A witch Private Investigator could help if she can avoid getting herself killed. 

Nina is special in more than one way. Not only is she being a witch, but she came across her powers naturally. The spells she casts just reside in her head. This makes her a great PI, but also extremely dangerous. Her main benefactor Quill is a fixer who uses Nina’s powers to find missing people. What happens to these people is none of Nina’s business until MI666 become involved. It appears that Nina may have spent the last few years helping some shady people and she is going to have to turn on them if she wants to avoid being trapped in an eternity of torture. 

Shadow Service Volume 1 written by Cavan Scott and illustrated by Corin Howell, is a great example of a British Comic with its localisms and no-nonsense attitude. Nina personifies this as she is an anti-hero that does not trust anyone but herself. Want her to join the ‘good guys,’ try it and see what she does. Until you prove otherwise to her, MI666 are just as bad as any of the other scum she has fought against all her life. 

This volume contains the first four outings of Secret Service, and it progresses a decent way down the narrative. The main story is set in the present as Nina is seeking a missing person, but also being used by MI666 to turn on her old employer, Quinn. Interspersed are flashback sequences. These mostly follow Nina and help the reader to understand why she is so mistrusting and quick to attack. They also follow other characters too and by the end of volume 1 you start to get an impression of who they are. 

The remarkable thing about the world of Secret Service is that no matter how much you think you know, there is always a twist. This is a world of magic and demons so not everything is as it seems. Each section ends in a cliff-hanger and that is true of the final part found in volume 1. They do an excellent job of wanting to make you read more. 

The story feels very British with local language and references to UK places. Manchester United get a cameo in the form of a football hooligan who may be a little more horrific than he first looks. It has a kitchen sink bleakness, married to high magic and horror that works brilliantly. This is all enhanced by Howell’s illustrations. The streets feel real, and they contrast against the horrific scenes of violence with the use of vibrant colours. 

Shadow Service is a series that you come back to, not only because it looks great, but because the story is intriguing. There is the sense that a lot is going to happen, and that Scott will not run out of ideas anytime soon. Not only do we need to know what is going to happen to Nina and Quill, but there are so many other characters that we have learnt only a small amount about, and their backstories should prove interesting.  

Written on 7th May 2021 by .

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