FNORDinc, August 25, 2010
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When Blood Calls, JK Beck (AKA Julie Kenner for you paranormal romance junkies out there)
– Vampires, Were creatures, and Litigation? How in the world does this even happen? People often refer to Lawyers as vampires (and blood suckers, etc) but rarely if ever have the two plot elements actually met.
Luke is old as hell. He is a vampiric assassin for the shadow underworld just beneath the surface of our own. He is also incarcerated and going to court, being tried for the murder of another shadow dwelling individual. This will not be the first time he has had throw down fights with the law. Over the centuries, he has been involved in a number of conflicts, investigated and exonerated. Everyone knows he is guilty but evidence is always lacking. The difference this time is that the murder was of an underworld Judge… and enough evidence to damn him is practically white glove served to the cops.
Sara is an “up and coming” prosecutor in the real world. After pushing a difficult mass murder case through the courts and winning, she is offered a new job in the “Division”. Division, located multiple floors (and various security precautions) below the city, is the local underworld cop-shop. Dealing only with shadow crimes, they elect to bring Sara in as their newest Human law protege.
Sara’s first case is making sure that Luke sees his day in court and is found guilty.
Overall, this book was enjoyable. I look forward to the remaining two books in the series. The series idea was fairly original. It was well written and kept me interested through out. I was fascinated by some of the strict restrictions authored in for law breakers who are able to turn to mist (eg, handcuffs are useless).
I was also very pleased that I did not guess the plot. With only one or two “I saw that coming” moments, it was nice to make it to the end with little more than an inkling of what was going to happen.
As such, I look forward to reading the final two books in this trilogy. I need to know what happens in the steamy vampire love fest of politics, law, murder, redemption, and the grey area between every line that society draws..
This is also a pretty decent standalone novel. Not to give away plot, but the end is wrapped up neatly enough that should you decide not to continue the series, you do not feel as if you are obligated to in order to get plot closure, nicely done Beck!
Now that I am done with the good, lets move on to the bad. There were a couple negative items which really threw me off:
- This is not a slight against the author, but I am not a big fan of soft-core erotica and the ways in which it’s authors refer to body parts and sexual activities. An example would be [when he closed his] “Mouth so intimately on her”.. Just say it, He went down on her.. It is much easier to understand than thinking he gave her an intimate (mouth) kiss, and three sentences later find him standing up from a previously unknown crouched or prone position…
- The liberal use of the term Nosferatu. This is most commonly (in the horror genre) associated with vampires that are damaged, deformed, or have otherwise “not a sexy vampire” traits. The root of Nosferatu is often relegated to the Greek for “disease-bearing”. As such, reading hard bodied charismatic sex-pots down playing themselves was a bit hard to get behind. All I could imagine was the buck-toothed (buck-fanged?) Klaus Kinski from West Germany’s ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ (1979). Very very not sexy… Very…
- For the first rough 50 pages, the men in the book were all posturing, sycophantic, and dotty, regardless of their intended place in the character pool. They seemed more like stereotypical closeted gay men, with rough and tough pseudo-macho injected conversation and descriptions.. For some reason, starting on page 51, they came into their own and encompassed the strong masculine banter that was needed. There is no question going forward how they will be perceived, but it was hard to swallow in the beginning that they were the hardened police and criminals that they were described as. It is also difficult to imagine a woman getting the “hot beef injection” from someone who is looking over her shoulder at the cover of the romance novels on her night stand… Again though, this is a moot point after 50 pages.
- Too many of the characters names in the beginning reminded me of Harry Potter characters. It was like a class reunion. Lucius (Luke) Dragos, Agent Ryan Doyle, Agent Severin Tucker… Anyway, it wasn’t any real leap to see a similarity. I got over it quickly as the characters fleshed out into their own entities.
A quick recap, though I have a few gripe points, I was over all very pleased with the book.
This review was based on an advance release copy I received.