The third in the Mercy Thompson series. Iron Kissed has two main plotlines. The first deals with Mercy having to make a choice between the two men in her (love)life. Adam - the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, and Sam her childhood sweetheart (also an Alpha). It's a decision she needs to make soon, before there's bloodshed.
The second plot is the mystery of the book. Several Fae have been murdered out at the Fae reservation and Zee takes Mercy there, to see if her 'coyote' nose can track the murderer. Although it initially seems like everything is resolved, Zee ends up being charged with murder and Mercy wants to put things right.
Although I don't think it's essential to have read the previous books in the series to follow Iron Kissed. You'd be missing out on two great stories if you didn't read Moon Called (Bk1) and Blood Bound (Bk2). Plus the build up to the Adam/Mercy/Samuel plotline is in those books. And a lot of the background as to how the Mercy Thompson Universe works and the relationship/family set ups of the various species groups.
One thing I very much enjoy about the series is how in each book we learn more about the characters and their relationships. One of my favourite things is how the dynamics of the werewolf pack is explored. In Iron Kissed I wish we could have spent more time learning about Honey and Peter, and Ben. For me, the scene between Ben and Adam at the end was one of the most powerful in the book, especially when Ben is having trouble expressing himself. I hope we get to spend more time with them in future books.
In Iron Kissed we learn more about the mysterious Fae and also how to deal with them. The fact that they can't lie but have their own special way of telling the truth. Which is interesting because ultimately that's how Mercy saves herself at the end of the story.
"It's easier to get forgiveness than permission."For me this quote is at the heart of the book. In a way this has been Mercy's attitude since we first met her in Moon Called, and probably has a lot to do with growing up as a coyote in a werewolf pack. It's a very easy thing to say when you have no way of knowing what the consequences of your actions will be.
Some of Iron Kissed is very difficult to read. Patricia Briggs doesn't pull back, her characters have to deal with the consequences of their actions. Sometimes there isn't an easy solution and it isn't always easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. Especially when the person you have to forgive is yourself.
The temptation to skip ahead when reading this book to see where the story is going, is almost overwhelming. It's that good. But you must resist. It's a story that once you start reading you can't stop. The Mercy Thompson series gets better with every book and in my opinion it's one of the best urban fantasy series around at the moment. If you love urban fantasy and you aren't reading the Mercy Thompson series, then I really think you should be.