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Urban Shaman [Kindle Edition]

C.E. Murphy
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Joanne Walker has three days to learn to use her shamanic powers and save the world from the unleashed Wild Hunt.

No worries. No pressure. Never mind the lack of sleep, the perplexing new talent for healing herself from fatal wounds, or the cryptic, talking coyote who appears in her dreams.

And if all that's not bad enough, in the three years Joanne's been a cop, she's never seen a dead body--but she's just come across her second in three days.

It's been a bitch of a week.

And it isn't over yet.

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About the Author

C.E. Murphy was born and raised in Alaska, and now lives in her ancestral homeland of Ireland, which is a magical land where it rains a lot but winter never actually arrives. Her first published title was URBAN SHAMAN, and she's since written eight more novels and two novellas featuring Joanne Walker. She's also published The Inheritor's Cycle, the Worldwalker duology, a graphic novel and various other projects. Check her out on Twitter @CE_murphy or at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 4th, 6:45 a.m.

T here's nothing worse than a red-eye flight.

Well, all right, that's wildly untrue. There are lots of things worse than red-eye flights. There are starving children in Africa, hate crimes and Austin Powers's teeth. That's just off the top of my head.

But I was crammed into an airplane seat that wouldn't comfortably hold a four-year-old child, and had been for so many hours I was no longer certain what species I belonged to. I hadn't slept in over a day. I was convinced that if someone didn't stay awake, the airplane would fall out of the sky, and I couldn't trust anyone else to do the job.

My stomach was alternating between nausea from the airline meal I'd eaten hours earlier, and hunger from not eating another revolting meal more recently. I'd forgotten to take my contact lens case with me in my carry-on, and my eyes were burning. My spine was so bent out of shape I'd have to visit a chiropractor for a week to stand up straight again. I was flying back from a funeral to be fired.

Overall, starving children in Africa were taking a distant second to my own misery and discomfort. Shallow, but true.

A very small part of my mind was convinced that if the flight attendants would just let me into the unpres-surized luggage compartment to find my contact case, everything would miraculously be right with the world. None of them would let me, so my contacts were welded to my eyes. Every several minutes I decided it wasn't worth it and started to take them out. Every time, I remembered that they were my last pair and I'd have to suffer with glasses until I made an eye appointment.

I might have succumbed, but the glasses in question were also with my luggage. The idea of navigating a soft-focus world full of featureless faces gave me a headache.

Not that I didn't have one anyway.

I climbed over the round man sleeping peacefully beside me and went to the bathroom. At least I could take the contacts out and stew them in tap water for a few minutes. Anything would be better than keeping them in my eyes.

Anything except my reflection. Have you ever noticed that the mirror is by far the largest object in those tiny airplane restrooms? I was a sick pasty color under the flickering florescent light, my eyes much too green against a network of bloodshot vessels. I looked like a walking advertisement for one of those "wow" eye-drop commercials. Second runner-up for Least Attractive Feature on an International Flight was my hair. I put my contacts in two little paper cups and set them ostentatiously on the appropriate sides of the sink, then rubbed water through my hair to give it some life again.

Now I looked like a bloodshot porcupine. Big improvement. The only thing on my person that didn't look slimy was the brand-new silver choker necklace my mother'd given me just before she died. A Celtic cross pendant sat in the hollow of my throat. I wasn't used to jewelry, and now that I'd been reminded it was there, it felt mildly horrible, like someone was gently pushing his thumb against the delicate flesh. I shuddered and put my contacts back in before weaving my way back down the aisles to my seat. The flight attendants avoided me. I couldn't blame them.

I rested my forehead on a grease spot I'd left on the window earlier. The airlines, I thought, must have custodians who clean the windows, or there'd be an inches-thick layer of goo on them from people like me.

That thought was proof positive that I shouldn't be allowed to stay up for more than eighteen hours at a time. I have a bad habit of following every thought to its miserable, pathetic little end when I'm tired. I don't mean to. It's just that my brain and my tongue get unhinged. Though some of my less charitable acquaintances would say this condition didn't require sleep deprivation.

The plane had been descending for a while now, and I squinted at my heavy black wristwatch. The bright orange button for changing the time had become permanently depressed in Moscow, or maybe Venice. Probably Moscow; I'd found Moscow depressing, and saw no reason why the watch shouldn't. It claimed it was 5:50 p.m., which meant it was almost seven in the morning. I frowned out the window, trying to find the horizon. The sky wasn't turning gray yet, not flying into Seattle three days after New Year's. I blinked at the darkness, trying to unglue my contacts again.

My eyes teared up and I spent a few minutes with my hands over them, hoping perversely that I didn't blink the contacts out. By the time I could see again, the captain had announced the final descent into Seattle. Couldn't they find a less ominous phrase for it? I don't like flying as it is, even without the implication that before landing I might want to have all my worldly and spiritual affairs in order. I pressed my head against the window so I could see the ground when it came into view. Maybe I could convince it to let us land without it being our real final descent.

Or maybe not. The plane banked abruptly and began to climb again. A moment or two later the captain's voice crackled over the intercom.

"Sorry about that, folks. Little disagreement over who got to land next. We're going to take another spin around the Emerald City and then we'll have you at the gate right on time."

Why do airline pilots always call passengers "folks"? I don't usually take umbrage at generic terminology—I'm one of those forward-thinkers who believes that "man" encompasses the whole darned race—but at whatever o'clock in the morning, I thought it would be nice to be called something that suggested unwashed masses a little less. Ladies and gentlemen, for example. Nevermind that, being an almost six-foot-tall mechanic, I had a hard time passing for a lady on a good day, which this wasn't.

I watched lights slip away beneath us as we circled. If I have to fly, I like flying into cities in the dark of morning. There's something reassuring and likable about the purposeful skim of vehicles, zooming along to their destinations. The whisk of cars meant that the people driving them had a goal, somewhere to be, something to do. That was a hell of a lot more than I had.

I stared down at the moving lights. Maybe I didn't like them after all.

The plane dropped the distance that made me an active voyeur in people's lives, instead of a distant watcher. I could see individuals under the streetlights. Trees became sets of branches instead of blurry masses of brown.

A school went by below us, swingsets empty. The neighborhood was full of tidy, ordered streets. Carefully tended trees, bereft of leaves, lined uniformly trimmed lawns. Well-washed cars reflected the streetlights. Even from the air well before sunrise, it screamed out, This Is A Good Place To Live.

The next neighborhood over didn't look as posh. Wrong side of the metaphysical tracks. Cars were older, had duller paint and no wax jobs to make them gleam in the streetlights. Mismatched shingles on patched roofs stood out; lawns were overgrown. It wasn't that the owners didn't care. It was that the price of a lawnmower or a matched roof patch could be the difference between Christmas or no Christmas that year.

Not that I knew anything about it.

A whole street went by, lightless except for one amber-colored lamp, the kind that's supposed to cut through fog. It made the street seem unnaturally vivid, details coming into sharp-edged focus below me.

A modern church, an A-frame with a sharp, nasty spire, was lit by the edges of the lone amber light. Its parking lot was abandoned except for one car, parked at an angle across two spaces, one of its doors hanging open. I wondered if it closed at all. Probably: it was a behemoth from the seventies, the kind of car that will last forever. I grew up with that kind of car. Air bags or no, the little crumply things they make today don't seem as safe.

Someone tall and lean got out of the car, draping himself over the door as he looked down the street toward the functional light. Even from above I could see the glitter of light on the butterfly knife he played with, comfortable and familiar. Watching, I knew that he could play knife games in the dark and blindfolded, and he'd never stab a finger.

A woman broke into the amber light, running down the center of the street. She took incredibly long strides, eating a huge amount of distance with each step, but her head was down and her steps swerved, like she wasn't used to running. Her hair was very long, and swung loose, flaring out as she whipped her head back to look behind her.

I twisted in my seat as the plane left the subdivision behind, trying to see.

A pack of dogs leaked out of the darkness. Their coats were pale gold under the amber light, and they loped with the casual confidence of a hunting pack following easy prey.

The woman stumbled, the pack gained and the plane took me away from them.

"You don't understand. There is a woman in trouble out there." It was the fourth time I'd said it, and the pilot kept looking at me like I was on drugs. Well, maybe I was. Lack of sleep has the same effect as certain narcotics. I was lodged in the door of the cockpit, other passengers pushing out behind me. Fourteen minutes had passed since I saw the woman. There was a knot of discomfort in my stomach, like I'd throw up if I didn't find a way to help her. I kept hoping I'd burp and it would go away, but I didn't, and the pilot was still eyeing me.

"And you saw this from the plane," he said, also for the fourth time. He had that bright lilting sound to his voice that first grade teachers use to mask irritation. "There are lots of people in trouble, ma'am."

I closed my eyes. They screamed with pain, tears flooding as I opened them again. Through the upwell, I saw an expression of dismayed horror cross the pilot's face.

Well, if he was going to fall for it, I might as well milk it. "It was five minutes before we landed," I quavered. "We circled around and came in from the northwest." I lifted my wrist to show him the compass on my watch band, although I hoped that, being the pilot, he knew we'd approached from the northwest. "I was looking out the window. I...

Product Details

  • File Size: 334 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Luna; Reprint edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002B9MHCM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,569 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
115 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful debut novel---highly recommended! July 28, 2005
Joanne Walker, born Siobban Walkingstick, is returning to Seattle from her Mother's funeral in Ireland. On the plane home, as pilots are making a final pass into the city, she sees a woman being attacked at a church.

Everyone thinks she's crazy. Heck, even she thinks she's crazy, but she's compelled to help this woman. So, she hires a cab and sets out to find trouble in the bad side of town....

That opens the story of Joanne Walker, mechanic-cop for the Seattle PD. In "Urban Shaman" Joanne must quickly learn to accept and adapt to the new powers she has--because lives depend on her.

"Urban Shaman" is a quick read and a good one. I strongly recommend you get into this series. Trust me, if you enjoy Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher and other novels of this type, you will be catching up when the others come out!
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92 of 102 people found the following review helpful
The author has such a great idea for a story and she is so wonderfully descriptive in her writing that I enjoyed it even though it has many glaring content mistakes. Some of the reviewers were disappointed because they were sold the book as a "Paranormal Romance" and they didn't get any sex scenes, but Amazon sold it to me as a "Native Mystery" along side the Jim Chee and the Charlie Moon series and that's the way I viewed.

The Positive:

There's a fun, vibrant, feel to the way Jo and her battles are written as she tries to save a Marie and the rest of Seattle from Cernunnuos and his Wild Hunt gone wrong; while she's also dealing with her knew found abilities, and some inner pain that she hides even from herself.

The Negative:

The author seems to have only a Hollywood Movie understanding of Police work and less than that of the Seattle PD, Police Hiring Practices, Criminal Procedure, Police Language and less about Police Culture. This is a problem when your main character is supposed to be a Police Officer. The author seemed to have almost NO knowledge of the Qualla Boundary, the place her main character grew up. The character graduated from a Tribal run High School, NOT a BIA school, that prides itself on ALL of its students having a rudimentary understanding of the Peoples' culture, history, and language. In the main character's home town the street signs are in English AND Cherokee and the kids at her alma mater play Stick Ball most days that the weather allows, yet growing up in this environment she had not even a tourists knowledge of the name of the community or the culture? These mistakes caused problems in the way characters related to each other and distracted from, an other wise, good story.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing November 19, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A brief description: CE Murphy's new book "Urban Shaman" tells the story of Joanne Walker, the daughter of a Native American and an Irish woman. Joanne is flying back from Ireland after her mother's funeral, and from the plane as it circles Seattle, spots a woman running away from an attacker. Joanne feels compelled to help the woman, and by doing so, becomes involved in an exciting and fast-paced adventure involving being chased by the Wild Hunt and ancient Celtic gods, and coming to terms with her newly emerged status as a powerful Native American shaman.

I can usually finish a book of this length in a day or two, depending on my available time and level of fatigue after a day at work. It took me about three or four days to finish this book, because I kept putting it aside, pondering what I knew of the subject matter (Native American and Celtic mythologies) against what I was reading, and then just deciding to tackle it all another day. That makes me sound sort of cynical and dismissive, which is not exactly true, but the truth is, I started off thinking this was going to be a really terrific book and ended by being confused and disappointed. This is not to say the book was bad - it wasn't. The basic idea behind this book is exciting and interesting, and I did enjoy much of it. It is very atmospheric, and the descriptions of places, people and events were terrific. I could really "see" everything that was happening. The part where Joanne meets the dead shamans in the star field is lovely, very nicely done. The action sequences are good (if confusing later in the book). There are also parts of the story that are quite well done in terms of relating the sense of suspense and terror. I even found myself a bit nervous after reading certain passages while at home alone late one night.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch urban fantasy July 13, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is worth your time.

The main character is imminently competent and likeable, with a very strong voice. One of the strongest and well written protagonists I've seen in a while.

The story is also good - solid Urban Fantasy. And solid fun from cover to cover - this one is a page-turner. I recommend starting it on a Friday night when you don't have any big weekend plans!

Don't be turned away by thinking this is Luna, so a romance with fantasy trappings. It's not.

Belongs on a bookshelf next to Emma Bull's _War For the Oaks_ and Terry Windling's _Borderlands_ anthologies.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish July 3, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The book began strong, but then. . .well, I'm not sure what happened. I think the author got caught up in making her characters witty and with demonstrating her better-than-average vocabulary, that she lost track of the story---or maybe I lost track of it. Another reviewer commented on the author's need to give very detailed descriptions of minor things and how that made the book hard to follow. I completely agree. There were several moments when I was reading where I had to go back to try and remember what was actually "going on" in the book.

Also, I just felt like the author was combining elements from too many different Native American cultures. There are some distinct differences between those in the Eastern part of the US and those in say the Southwest. Then to add in elements from the Celts. Yikes! Too much going on in the wrong places.

Eventually, I gave up, telling myself that there are far too many good books to read to waste my time reading a bad one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it
The story moved quickly, and it kept me swept up in it.
I had a hard time putting it down to take time to sleep.
Now, I have to read what comes next....
Published 1 day ago by gardenfairie
4.0 out of 5 stars Love this series
This was a surprise read for me. When I read the description, I was thinking that it wouldn't be a book that I would enjoy. I was wrong and really enjoyed the story. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Darrell Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read.
Arrgghh. Now I have to read the whole series. Fast paced, funny, great characters. Neat story line, must read next book right now.
Published 5 days ago by andrea
5.0 out of 5 stars Great debut novel
And frankly I am not following all the one-star reviews. I got sucked in immediately. I love the main character, as well as Gary and everybody else she created. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bobbi
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked It
I liked the main character and the plot was rather interesting. No typos that I saw and the story moved along well. Read more
Published 2 months ago by CraftyRaven
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastical!
Excellent imagery and lovely combination of the Celtic and Native American cultures. A strong and unusual heroine mark this series and I look forward to reading the entire series.
Published 3 months ago by B. Jones
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing...
Honestly, I must admit that I only made it through the first 8 chapters or so of the book. One of the first things I noticed was that the main character had a lot in common with... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Michelle
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the price of admittance
First in the Walker Papers urban fantasy series that incorporates Native American beliefs and is based in Seattle. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kathy Davie
4.0 out of 5 stars I've always enjoyed
The kind of jokey dialogue that reminds me of the superhero comics of my childhood, so I enjoyed the heroine's commentary on her various cliffhanger situations. Read more
Published 4 months ago by LMN
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Even Finish the Free Sample
Fortunately the author made her deep distaste for Christianity evident in the first two chapters. The church spire was vicious, the church judgmental, and the Christian iconography... Read more
Published 7 months ago by MrsChip
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More About the Author

C.E. Murphy was born and raised in Alaska and has since moved to her ancestral homeland of Ireland. She lives there with her husband, a chef, and three very spoiled pets.

She's a full-time writer. Thus far her plans to take over the publishing world are proceeding apace.

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