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Blood Law Mass Market Paperback – Jul 6 2010


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (July 6 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055359267X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553592672
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.7 x 17.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,021,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jeannie Holmes is a Mississippi native and holds both bachelor and master of arts degrees in English. She currently lives in Mobile, Alabama, with her husband and four neurotic cats. This is her first novel, and she is working on the sequel to Blood Law.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One


October 13

alexandra sabian hated cemeteries. during her twenty-plus years as an Enforcer with the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation, she’d been in far too many. Some thought cemeteries were calm and peaceful places, but for her it was like stepping into a waking nightmare.

Blue and white emergency lights strobed across the landscape, casting strange shadows on the ground. The pulsing wash created the illusion of movement in the corners of her eyes, which relentlessly searched for the shadows that moved against the direction of the light.

Crime scenes attracted both the living and the dead, and it was her job to listen to both.

She pulled her shoulder-length auburn hair into a crude ponytail and secured it with a paper hair cap similar to what surgeons would wear in an operating room. She carefully stepped into a disposable Tyvek jumpsuit and slipped paper foot coverings over her boots. Preservation of the scene was vital, especially with outdoor sites. In today’s world of forensic science, a stray hair or fiber could make or break a case, and this was one case she wanted to get right. The protective gear she donned was to prevent cross-contamination and had the added benefits of rendering the wearer androgynous, giving the appearance of multiple Pillsbury Doughboys prowling the scene.

She signed in her name and badge number with the communications officer responsible for keeping track of everyone who entered and left the scene. Steeling herself against what awaited her on the other side of the yellow tape barrier, she ducked under the barricade and picked her way through the headstones, snapping a pair of latex gloves into place as she walked.

“Murder, my ass,” someone said in a raised voice from a group of uniformed officers huddled in the darkness. “Killing vampires should be considered a public service, if you ask me.”

Alex recognized the voice as belonging to Harvey Manser, Nassau County’s duly elected sheriff and all-around jackass. His dislike of vampires, and even more so of her, was well documented, and the feeling was mutual. Tonight, however, she wasn’t in the mood to respond to the obvious bait he provided. She ignored the comment and kept walking.

Even though it’d been forty years since vampires—her people—had revealed themselves to humanity, relations between the two species remained tense. Progress had been made in educating the human population about the difference between real vampires and those portrayed by Hollywood, but some of the old fears remained and combined with the new. She could understand their fear. Suddenly waking up to discover that humanity wasn’t the only intelligent life on the planet must have been quite a shock.

Floodlights illuminated the scene, and she blinked against their glare as she joined the group of similarly attired detectives and officers surrounding a freshly discovered body. Centuries of evolution had made her entire race photophobic—a misnomer because they didn’t actually fear light. Instead, they experienced varying degrees of eye discomfort or pain, depending on the amount of brightness. Like most vampires, she thought wearing sunglasses during the day was a fair trade for the superior night vision she gained. Not that it helped her much under the glare of police spotlights.

“Alex.” A short Doughboy wannabe with a round caramel face broke from the group. “I’m sorry to call you out in the middle of the night like this.”

Alex shrugged, already focusing on the scene before her. “Night. Day. Doesn’t really matter. It’s not like killers punch a time clock, right?”

Lieutenant Tasha Lockwood sighed. “No, I guess not.”

As the liaison officer between the human-operated Jefferson Police and Nassau County Sheriff?’s departments and the FBPI, Tasha had worked closely with Alex for the six years Alex had been living in the tiny southwestern Mississippi town. While neither of them would categorize their relationship as a friendship, they’d built a level of mutual respect and understanding that both found comfortable.

Alex indicated the body with a thrust of her chin. “So, what’ve you got for me?”

“Same scenario as before,” Tasha answered, leading her around the scene’s perimeter. “Caucasian male vampire, nude, no signs of defensive wounds on hands or arms, no blood present at the scene, cross-shaped stake driven through the heart, and—”

“No head,” Alex finished as they stopped beside a tombstone, in front of which the body lay.

The corpse lay on its back with its arms stretched out at shoulder height, feet bound with bright yellow nylon rope, in a classic crucifix position. The ragged neck stump abutted to the sleek black granite tombstone, so it appeared as though the marker itself was the body’s head.

The image of another body, bloodied and lying crumpled beside a gravestone, pushed its way into her consciousness. She closed her eyes and forced the memory to retreat into the darkness of the past once more. Opening her eyes, she looked over the scene and noted the leather pouch draped around the arms of the cross-stake. “Who called it in?”

“Anonymous tip came into the main switchboard at JPD,” Tasha answered. “The nine-one-one system automatically logs the numbers of calls received. Switchboard doesn’t.”

“Photos been taken?”

“Yeah, it’s all yours.”

Alex skirted around the tombstone, careful not to disturb the body’s position, and knelt beside it, inhaling deeply. A vampire’s sense of smell was ten times that of a human, and she found a complex kaleidoscope of scents: the cleanness of pine from the trees hidden in the darkness beyond the floodlights. The earthy smells of a nearby freshly dug grave. The stink of sweat mixed with adrenaline from the humans moving at the periphery of her vision. Leaning close to the corpse, she inhaled again and fought the urge to sneeze. “Body smells of decay and a faint trace of ammonia.”

“Ammonia?” Tasha echoed. “Didn’t you say the same about the other bodies?”

“According to the ME’s report, our killer scrubbed the bodies with an ammonia mixture, presumably to limit the amount of evidence we could gain. It also keeps initial insect activity to a minimum.”

“Crap. Well, that makes our job all the more difficult.”

“Yeah, but it also tells us that our subject has at least a working knowledge of forensics, which is one more reason for us to be careful when handling the scene.” Plucking the leather pouch from the cross-stake, Alex pried the cords open and dumped the contents into her gloved hand. A golden wedding band. A Mississippi driver’s license. Two bloodstained pieces of what appeared to be ivory.

“Are those teeth?” Tasha asked, peering over Alex’s shoulder.

“Fangs,” she said, poking them with her gloved finger. Disgust rose within her. Vampires didn’t grow fangs until puberty, when hormonal changes forced the body to undergo its physical transformation from child to adult, and they were permanent dental fixtures, not the retractable kind favored by film and fiction. Until that time, human and vampire children were virtually indistinguishable. Defanging a vampire was the equivalent of forcibly castrating a human—a brutal practice that was reported all too frequently.

She dropped the fangs back into the leather pouch and examined the ring. It was a plain golden band with no inscription or other identifying marks. She checked the corpse’s left hand and saw a clear delineation in the skin coloration of the third finger that matched the width of the band. “Our victim was married,” she said, and added the ring to the pouch.

“Interesting,” Tasha said. “Our last vic was single.”

Four days prior, Alex and Tasha had worked a similar scene across town. The body of Grant Williams, an employee of Phancy Photos Studio and Video, was discovered in a loading bay at Kellner Hardware. Williams had been positioned in the same manner, and the pouch draped over his cross-stake contained fangs, a blood-smeared photo of the victim and his girlfriend, and his driver’s license. A tattoo on his lower back had helped them confirm his identity.

However, Williams wasn’t the first body. Nine days before, a startled security guard at a rest stop north of town had found the body of an as-yet-unidentified vampire in one of the men’s room stalls.

Alex held the new license in her hand, turning it toward the light. “Eric Stromheimer, age ninety-seven, address is four thirteen Cork Lane.” She glanced at Tasha. “He’s local, just like Williams.”

“You’ll notify the family?”

“I hate this shit.” Alex slipped the driver’s license back into the pouch. Notifying families that a loved one was dead was never easy, and when that loved one had been murdered, it was even worse. She stood and slowly began searching the ground around the body for anything that appeared out of place.

“Evening, ladies,” a young man pulling a gurney said as he approached.

“Hey, Jeff,” Alex replied without glancing up.

“May I be the first to say that the marshmallow-man look is not flattering on either of you?” Jeffery Stringer, assistant medical examiner for Nassau County, announced with a broad grin.

Tasha launched into a lecture about proper conduct at a crime scene, to which Jeff alternately smirked and chuckled, and Alex rolled her eyes. Twenty-three, long-limbed and skinny, and with delusions of being a ladies’ man bouncin...

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RabidReads on Jan. 7 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'll be the first one to admit that I bought this book based on the cover alone! I did read the synopsis as well and the mention of vampires further sealed the deal. Fortunately this book's contents mirror its cover in that they're wicked! The direction that the story takes surprised me a little. The plot didn't unravel as I had expected. Good, because I hate predictable books!

The start of this novel is slower paced than I would have liked. The story really started moving once I was past the half-way mark. So stick with it! Alex, the main protagonist, is a vampire. Don't let that fool you though, she's a do-it-by-the-books kinda girl. That is until everything goes to hell causing her poker face to crack until it ultimately disintegrates. Alex is an interesting character to get to know. She's very complex but in a way that's decipherable. Watching her sway back and forth between doing her job and doing what's right was moving. Her struggles were palpable and I think that in the end she did what most would have done in her situation. Family comes first.

Vampires and humans live together somewhat harmoniously in this book. Like everything else, there's always people on both sides of an argument and this one is no different. The main bad guy is scary crazy and it took me quite a while before I caught on to his identity. He's not alone though, he's also a member of an anti-vamp group that stirs up more than their fair share of trouble. They reminded me of the Fellowship of the Sun in True Blood. This combination made for one killer line-up of antagonists. The changing POVs of the narrators left me feeling like I had been inside the main bad guy's head. Cool yet disturbing...

There were A LOT of acronyms in Blood Law. Too many in my opinion.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 39 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Okay for a debut novelist, looking forward to more! July 21 2010
By Rhianna Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations uses its resources to solve crimes against vampires. Enforcers like fiery, fierce Alexandra Sabian and her former lover/mentor Varik Baudelaire, face trouble on all sides as they attempt to keep the peace between vampires and humans. A shaky peace that wasn't even known to be needed until the murder of Alex's father back in the 60's. When her dad's grisly murder prompted the vampires to reveal themselves the world was turned upside down.

Decades have passed and even with plenty of water under the bridge there are plenty of folks who hate vampires. Jefferson, Mississipi's sheriff certainly holds no warmth for the bloodsuckers making up half the local population. When murdered vamps start piling up with a creepy similarity in MO to the murder of Alex's father the humans do more to hinder the investigation than aid it. Enter Varik and the dirty laundry never aired out between the two Enforcers. If they're going to work together and find the killer they'll have to fight fires both of the physical kind and the romantic.

First I have to admit I probably didn't love Blood Law as much as I wanted to because I had some strong preconceived notions about the strong Southern heroine type. Alex is definitely cut from the right cloth, she's just been put together by a seamstress still new to the craft. There are a lot of characters brought into this story, for me as a reader there were a few too many to keep track of. Many of them were good, in particularly I liked Tasha, the liaison between the FBPI and the cops, but I feel like some of them were under developed. I'm not an editor so I can't really offer anything from that realm but as a reader I think the lack of depth to them made me not care about their parts of the story.

The romance--a very complicated one at that--between Alex and Varik was a bit frustrating. There was a lot of back story I felt I was missing for too long. Once I finally got enough to understand some of the conflict between them I had a bit of an "uh that's all it was?" moment. Anticlimactic! Argh! Even still they make a couple I want to read more of.

The actual meat of the story, the vampire murders plot, is good. My only beef with it is that sometimes it felt driven more by Alex's getting into one bad situation after another to the point of feeling a bit contrived. A little more natural flow (maybe have someone other than Alex getting hurt??) would have been good.

One area I felt was really left open is the world building. As far as I can tell the vampires of Holmes' world are basically blood drinking humans with a supernatural gift. Long lives are hinted at but not a lot is elaborated on. If you're a reader who doesn't mind waiting for more details in a series I think you'll get just enough to keep you interested in following the characters into further installments of this series. And yes, there is a sequel in the works, I checked with Holmes to find out.

Overall, I can't say I loved Blood Law, but I didn't dislike it either. Some of the previously mentioned areas kept me from being able to quite give it four stars but as a debut novel I think it's worth recommending to urban fantasy junkies like me who are looking for something fresh. Holmes has the right ingredients for an enticing new series all she needs now is to keep challenging herself as a newly minted author and we should be reaping the rewards very soon!

(Notes: As per my request I received an ARC from the author.)
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Vampires in Mississippi? July 9 2010
By Girard F. Bolton III - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's about time! The last good vampire book I read was written by Anne Rice. Jeannie Holmes' new vampire series has wet my appetite for vampire books again! Because I won a contest several months ago, I had the good fortune to be able to read Blood Law before it was officially released by her publisher three days ago. Now I'm anxious to see how much changed from the A.R.E. (Advance Reader's Edition) version of Jeannie Holmes' novel. In all fairness, I feel the need to let you know the following is based on the A.R.E. version of Blood Law.

Like Anne Rice, Jeannie Holmes has redefined the popular vision of vampires. Both authors are very talented in their abilities to describe what other vampire writers have not dared to put on paper.

In Blood Law, Mrs. Holmes has set her story in the deep south where racism and backward viewpoints thrive. However, her focus is not about the differences between variations of human skin pigmentation, but about humans v.s. vampire species.

First off, her vampires are not undead creatures created from humans bitten by vampires. Her vampires are a totally different humanoid species who are born with unique biological deficiencies making them dependent on the energy contained in the blood they feed upon.

Secondly, her vampires are ethical. Imagine that! All law abiding vampires live by the Blood Law which states: "Never take by force from one what is freely offered by others." In fact, that is why the FBPI employs teams of vampire enforcers (hunters & talents) to find rogue vampires who have broken their most sacred blood law.

Although her novel borders on being a love story, Blood Law is in reality a murder mystery about a serial killer of vampires and the investigation leading to finding out who is behind the murders.

I know we will disagree, but I'm sure many vampire enthusiasts will classify Blood Law as an undead series. But, we can all agree that Blood Law is a unique modern vision of a dark fantasy paranormal suspense novel.

Mrs. Holmes ability to bring her readers into a reality where vampires live openly among humans in Southern Mississippi is fantastic!

In her novel, the Sabian Family of vampires (Bernard, Emily, Alexandra, and Stephen) can be compared to the Kennedy Family.

While you are reading Blood Law, Mrs. Holmes will introduce you to Alex, Varik, Tasha, Harvey, Jeff, Damian, Darryl, Trent, Tubby, Freddy, Martin, Claire, Bill, Janet, and Dweezil (among others).

You will visit the Crimson Swan in Jefferson and The Stakehouse in Natchez, where vampires enjoy the company of other vampires while they drink the blood of their human donors. You will learn about blood bonds and why they exist.

You will see the inner workings of the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations, the Human Separatist Movement, the Holy Word Church, the Blood Brothers, the Kill All Blood Suckers, The Shadowlands and The Veil.

You will learn that Vamp Fang is a mixed drink for humans and Vlad's Tears help vampires delay their thirst for blood. Of course, the novel is not complete without learning that some vampires are addicted to the illegal drug called Midnight, a modified version of the hallucinogen Ecstasy.

After reading Blood Law, I will find it difficult not to look around for fangs whenever I smell the scents of Jasmine, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Musk or Cloves. I think I'll go home, pour me a cup of hot Peppermint Tea and read Jeannie Holmes' Blood Law again.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Show, not tell July 20 2010
By Cerulean - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was excited to read this book because I thought the idea of a female vampire detective would give a new slant on the typical urban fantasy characters. However, I couldn't even finish the book - even after over halfway through it - and deleted it off my Kindle. Holmes needs to do a lot more showing instead of telling. There's way too much exposition. Most of the book has characters sitting around thinking about their histories and motives instead of revealing it through their actions. The characters are also stock: The small-town hick prejudiced sheriff, the older male vampire love interest, the domineering boss, the overly protective brother, the somewhat estranged mother, and the dead father. The descriptions of the characters are juvenile, with multiple references to the female and male leads' scents as "jasmine and cinnamon" or something like that. It just seems like the author didn't put enough thought into making them real and used certain phrases to take the place of real character description and motivation. If you're interested in these types of books, you're better off reading Lilith Saintcrow, Illona Andrews, or Patricia Briggs.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Poorly constructed... painfully executed Feb. 11 2011
By A. McKinnon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
HIGH LEVEL: Look, I love the Urban Fantasy genre, but this book does nothing to add to it. I got the sense it wasn't very well thought out. I basically forced my way through this through sheer will power- and I read fast, so it wasn't a huge investment. If you're just looking for a basic procedural mystery with a bit of vamp-fantasy thrown in and you've read absolutely everything else, then go for it. Otherwise, there are far better books out there to spend your time and money on.

THE GOOD: The universe itself is reliable and refreshingly clear- nothing new or innovative, but a standard post vampire "coming-out" party world with decent mythology to work with.

Our heroine is also a decent character- she makes some poor decisions and tends to be a bit emotional, but over all I found her strong and sympathetic. Something of a colorful support cast, though under-utilized.

THE BAD: (Yes, there is a list)

- Shifting perspective: the voice of the narrative is first person limited, but it shifts between no less than SIX DIFFERENT CHARACTERS. This made me sea-sick in addition to seriously interfering with both the pacing of the story and my ability to get drawn in to any particular character. By the end of the book I barely felt a kinship with our main girl for goodness sakes! It was frustrating and painful. Repetitive. In places, it was so over done that it felt like Ms. Holmes was beating me over the head with the perspective of the character- especially the bad guys. They're sick and twisted and prejudiced. I get it, now leave me alone!

- Supporting characters: Not consistently written. Some FANTASTIC characters were just never really utilized. In some cases characters were written that had real potential for interesting banter down the line... but then they were just dropped and never revisited. In other cases, the characters behaved completely irrationally simply because the plot called for it- and in others the plot didn't even call for it. In fact, I'm still not sure why I had to suffer through a few passages.

- Plot: plodding, predictable and formulaic. That isn't to say that some times that isn't what we want to read, but don't look for anything terrifically creative here. In addition, there are some elements that are unneccessary and others that are illogical. The set up for future installments, including a connection to her dead father, was awkward and didn't fit easily into this story arc.

- Romance sub-plot: Poorly written and forced. Our two characters were written to be attractive, but other than that I have no idea what drew them together. The love interest, Varik, while being highly sympathetic, consistently behaves in a highly patronizing manner. I WANTED to like him, but I just couldn't. A very serious history between them was never properly resolved, though a thin attempt was made, and our heroine, Alex, seems to have simply forgotten to be mad by the end of the book. A six year separation ends up being marginalized as a misunderstanding. There is some reference to the idea that she ended up being as guilty as he, but was simply wrong and the entire incident was apparently swept under the rug. In addition, it becomes clear that Varik continues to hold information from Alex leaving you feeling that she is trusting the wrong man. There is an odd dynamic of age difference and the fact that Varik ends up more sympathetic to the mother which left me feeling dirty and somewhat incestuous. (Rough quote: "Your mother and I are from a different age..." REALLY? Come on- you don't expect this to add to the romance, right?)

BOTTOM LINE: The over all feel of this book was a bit over-dramatic with comic book level conflict and character development. I won't bother picking up the next book and I don't recommend this one to you. There are much better examples of the same thing out there.

ALTERNATIVE READING:

Jeaniene Frost's vamp mystery packed with action Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1)
Caitlin Kittredge's procedural crime with a were heroine Night Life (Nocturne City, Book 1)
Jim Butcher's wizard private eye Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1)
Ann Aguirre's psychometric investigator in Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel
Kim Harrison's witch/vamp/pixie team of private eyes in Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, Book 1)
Patricia Brigg's skinwalker/were/shifter centric Moon Called (Mercy Thompson)
Eileen Wilks' procedural crime featuring werewolves, etc Tempting Danger (The World of the Lupi, Book 1)
Jennifer Rardin's team of government assassins in Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Jaz Parks)
Diana Rowland's demon summoning cop Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian, Book 1)
Lilith Saintcrow's darker, far more gritty Night Shift (Jill Kismet, Hunter, Book 1)

I CAN ONLY HAVE 10 LINKS, BUT ALSO:
Rebecca York's shifting central character, but procedural mystery/romance Killing Moon (The Moon Series, Book 1)
Cat Adams' body guard heroine in Blood Song
Seanan McGuire's fae private eye in Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, Book 1)

I could go on. The point is, there is better entertainment than this out there.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Flashbacks, multiple protaganists, dream sequences--bleah! July 8 2010
By The Topiary Cow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Between the switching points of view, dream sequences, flashbacks, dads speaking from the grave, and uncomfortable flashes of Charlaine Harris' world and Twilight, this book just couldn't hold me.

Felt it would have benefited from a strict and focused editor. Had the writer stuck with the main protaganist and the actual story line, instead of flopping back and forth, it might have been good.

Just my view. Other readers seem to have been quite enthusiastic.


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