Vampires! Who can resist a vampire, especially a powerful, sexy, rich, vampire god like Reynolds created with Raphael. Oh mamma, I was in vampire heaven with this one, it had it all: tough and gritty heroine, sexy and ridiculously manly hero, interesting back-drop, mystery, violence and steamy, wall-shaking romantic interludes. I need to simultaneously smoke a cigarette and punch something after finishing this novel. Vampire fans, run, don't walk --- and get this novel.
The setting: Malibu, California.
The heroine: Tough cookie, private investigator, Cynthia Leighton. Former LAPD officer who does not play well with others.
The hero: Lord Master Vampire Raphael, enough power at his fingertips to crush mere mortals with a look and make women undress on command.
The situation: While Raphael is away on business, someone makes a power-play to shake things up. Alexandra, a vampire Raphael holds dear, is kidnapped and guards are murdered. Raphael's trust has been betrayed and there are traitors within his staff.
Raphael needs someone outside of his influence to solve this mystery, find out who kidnapped Alexandra and deal with the humans who have become pawns in this vampire power-grab. Cynthia Leighton is just what Raphael needs. She is used to working with vampires and she is smart enough to track down Alexandra and tough enough to bear witness to the vampire way of doing things. What neither one of them planned for was the attraction that is becoming much more than just a distraction.
Like I stated in the quickie above this novel had it all. A must-read for vampire fans. Strong characters, matched with an intensely hard-hitting plot and a whirl-wind and very lusty introduction to a society of vampires, made for an excellent book. One of the things that stands out the most about this novel was it was real. Far-fetched right for a paranormal novel? But the thing about PNR and UF is that the underlying factor in all of them is human emotion. You might be a vamp, but you were once a human - and here you are falling in love. The emotionally responses, the dialogue and even the sex scenes were real.
How many times have you read a sex scene in a book and went, "Well that was hot, but I don't see myself ever doing that particular move." These were nothing like that. It was real, completely believable character interaction.
Then, Reynolds also has a quirky way of writing that at first made me stop and reread a few sentences, but once it seeped in I really began to enjoy her voice. This doesn't happen often, but she actually introduced me to a few new words. Nothing high-brow or anything, just interesting descriptions and metaphors and a way of rearranging sentence structure that gave the tone a little more depth and a old-world feeling. Not a historical feeling, this is hard to describe, but a full-bodied, aged feeling. A good analogy would be that her book was like a good merlot. Very spicy, aged and with a full-body flavor.
The only bitter flavoring that I found with this book was just a small niggling at the back of my head that I had read this before, or at least similar story-lines. Hot over-powering male vamp hires prickly female PI, doesn't shine as the most original idea, but the setting, the characters and the excellent writing sets it a part from the rest.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Fans of authors such as J.R. Ward, Laurel K. Hamilton, Jeaninne Frost should really enjoy. Adults only, this book contains violence, explicit sex scenes and cursing. Not for anyone with a purity ring. ;)