on May 13, 2010
I first saw a reference to Tanya Huff in a review of the latest Kelly Armstong book. Since I am a big fan of Armstrong I thought I would at least try her fellow Canadian.
I am so glad I did. Like Armstrong, Huff spends much of her time creating rich, intriguing characters and then letting them play. The demons, werewolves etc. are really secondary to the fun of meeting the bastard son of Henry V111, a virtually blind PI, and her alpha male cop lover. Nonetheless, even the demon lords are fleshed out and interesting, albeit being mainly incorporeal vapor.
Her werewolf family reminded me very much of a family I once knew who had a large farm in Ontario. Delightful people and so are the werewolves. And I enjoyed that, at least in the first two stories (books really,) the actual villains were human.
Nowhere does she rely on cliches or hackneyed "cute meets." Just at the time you think you have the jealous, hardnosed Italian cop figured out she turns him sideways and he becomes deeper, more appealing, with interesting edges. Henry Fitzroy, vampire prince of the night, writes romance novels under the nom de plume of his half sister,Elizabeth (lovely aside,) likes dogs, is a devout Catholic and can be very, very scary.
I have already ordered the other two in this series and expect I will enjoy them just as much. These are keepers. Unlike Armstrong, but much like JD Robb and her Eve Dallas stories, the city (in this case Toronto) becomes another character and the writing is richer for it.
BLOOD BOOKS Volume 1 contains the first two books in Tanya Huff's 5 part Blood series. These stories became the first few episodes in the Blood Ties TV show which luckily I discovered before the books because now I have the added bonus of visual references for all the characters. The books aren't as cheesy as the TV series sometimes became in fact the writing here is well above average, fast paced and contains several POV's and tons of witty dialogue. The three main characters diverse personalities play well off each other and ooze sexual tension even though all the love scenes are fade-to-black. They also take place in the real (Canadian) world which I loved because I like to think that vampires and werewolves may indeed walk among us.
The first story BLOOD PRICE is identical to the Blood Ties series pilot and was my favourite of the two. We are introduced to Vicki Nelson a tough, sarcastic PI who because of degenerative eye disease has had to leave her job with the Toronto Police Dept. One night Vicki stumbles upon a suspicious murder victim and immediately becomes wrapped up in a case involving black magic and demons. As the victims pile up Vicki is forced to call upon ex-partner (and sometimes lover) Mike Celluci as well as befriending the 450 year old illegitimate son of Henry VIII, romance author and vampire. Together all three will try to stop the demon before it destroys humanity.
The second story BLOOD TRAIL takes Vicki and Henry into rural Ontario as they attempt to catch a sniper taking out members of a family of sheep farmers that also just happen to be werewolves. With Henry and Vicki growing closer the love triangle comes full circle as Cop Mike Celluci shows up to warn Vicki that he thinks Henry might be involved with organized crime. However that's the least of their problems as together the trio must fight off a mad gunman, angry werewolves and ultimately each other.
First written in 1991, this excellent series has been reissued with the 2006 omnibus edition. Except for the absence of cell phones and computers you'll never notice the age off the writing. Both stories are also complete and a great deal together which I would highly recommend to paranormal junkies. Cheers.
Victoria "Vicki" Nelson had recently been diagnosed with Retintis Pigmentosa. She is slowly going blind. She already has no vision at night. Unable to settle for a desk job, Vicki turned in her badge at the Criminal Investigations Bureau of Toronto. Though Vicki no longer works in Homicide, she cannot give up investigating; therefore, Vicki is now a private investigator.
Bodies drained of blood are beginning to show up around the area. Coreen Fergus is the girlfriend of one of the victims. The newspapers have been claiming that a vampire is the cause of the recent murders and Coreen agrees. Vicki is hired to investigate the death of her boyfriend, find proof that a vampire killed him, and to eliminate the threat. Vicki takes the case. The facts do point to a vampire, but the creatures are only a myth. Vicki figures that Coreen simply needs closure, so she would find out who killed the boyfriend of her client. But Vicki's world tilts when she finds a vampire standing over the latest body.
Henry Fitzroy was born in the sixteenth century and raised a good Catholic. He is the illegitimate son of Henry VIII. When Vicki finds him with the killer's latest victim, he has two choices: Kill Vicki or talk to her. Surprisingly, it does not take Vicki long to accept that the impossible is actually possible. Henry is a vampire. Vampires do not want mortals to know they exist. This means Henry wants the killer stopped. Permanently. Working together, Henry and Vicki discover that the killer is a demon feeding. To stop the demon, they must find the mortal summoning it.
Homicide Detective Michael "Mike" Celluci had not wanted Vicki to leave the police force, but he also understood why she did. They had four years of friendship and occasionally slept together. Vicki had acted as Mike's safety valve and he had done the same for her. The situation has changed; however, being there for each other does not need to. And even though Vicki is now a civilian, she is still a valuable resource and highly respected by most in the force. If Mike cannot keep Vicki from snooping around, then he can at least help her and keep her safe. As for the new man in her life, Henry, Mike does not like him at all.
**** FOUR STARS! An excellent beginning to the Blood Series. I would have given the story five stars had there not been to many typos. (At least in the Kindle version I purchased the typos are everywhere.) The three main characters are Vicki, Henry, and Mike. The villain in this first story is a demon. It will be interesting to see whether each story has a different paranormal creature or not. According to the book cover, this series has been made into a television show called Blood Ties. (I do not know if it is still aired though.) From what I can gather, the Blood Series is six books long. The first five titles are available in print and electronic formats; however, the sixth title is paperback only. (At the time of this review.) That last book is simply a collection of short stories. The only short story not in the sixth book is in the anthology titled A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters.
Tanya Huff has a creative writing style that is also easy to read. All character backgrounds are well developed. Each of the three main characters has unique personalities and their own set of quirks and pet peeves. I can only hope that the rest of the series is this fantastic! ****
Victoria "Vicki" Nelson became a private investigator after her eye disease (Retintis Pigmentosa) forced her off the Metro Police. Her best friend of over four years is Detective-Sergeant Michael "Mike" Celluci. Though Vicki is no longer with the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department, she and Mike still help each other blow off steam. Doing so often leads them to the bedroom. Their relationship is loose. They each see other people. Recently Vicki met Henry Fitzroy. Mike has no idea that Henry is a vampire or that the creatures even exist. Mike only knows that he does not like the man.
When Henry asks Vicki to help some of his friends with a problem, she knows that the problem may not be what most would call normal. Vicki and Henry travel to a sheep farm just north of London, Ontario. The sheep farm belongs to a family of werewolves. Vicki's job is to find the person, or people, involved in trying to kill them.
Between Vicki investigating during the day time and Henry during the night, good headway is being made. But then Mike shows up unexpectedly. Mike has been doing some background checking on Vicki's new boyfriend and he is convinced that Henry is involved in organized crime. Vicki is furious of course, but before she can get him to leave Mike learns what her clients are. Mike world not have believed it, except that he had seen a demon trying to kill Vicki only a month or so prior.
**** FOUR STARS! This is the second title in the Blood Series. Last story had a demon in it. This time it has werewolves. The love triangle finally finishes forming during this case. Mike and Henry realize that they both want an exclusive relationship with Vicki, and that neither are willing to give her up. As for Vicki, she is learning not to judge her clients by human standards, no matter how human they seem most of the time.
Huff has another winning story in this book. There are many typos (in the Kindle version that I purchased), but not as many as in the first story. Well done! ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.