on 11 May 2007
This is the second book in this series by Jenna Black and it makes a number of references to events and characters in the first book, "Watchers In The Night". However it isn't necessary to have read that book to understand the events of this story, focusing this time on Hannah the feisty Private Eye and Jules, the Quebecois vampire.
In Jenna Black's vampire world humans aren't aware of the vampires (apart from in a few special cases) and the vampires themselves are ranged against each other. Almost all vampires are Killers, those who drain humans for blood, and this feeding gives them significant power. However, some vampires are members of the Guardians, led by Eli, who don't take human blood and who work as a kind of police force in Philadelphia, disposing of Killers when they can.
Jules is a vampire with a temper. Although the oldest of the Guardians (apart from Eli) he hasn't got very good control over his emotions and when he discovers that the vampire who turned him, Ian, is on a killing spree in Baltimore he goes to the Guardians for help in finding and finishing Ian. However he discovers that Eli isn't going to allow him - or any of the other Guardians - to step outside of their Philadelphia territory. So Jules decides to go it alone.
He's not quite alone though. The mortal fiancée of Gray, one of the Guardians, hires Hannah to work with Jules and to protect him. Hannah is a tomboyish feisty woman who is mouthy and bold but underneath this hides a fear of being overpowered. Despite Jules's reservations they work together to try to locate Ian and deal with him.
Unfortunately it's far from easy. Ian, being a Killer, has far more power than Jules. And they soon discover they have stumbled into some significant vampire politics which leads them to question the morals and ethics of Eli, their leader. They find themselves having to compromise some of their rules in order to get the job done and are continually in a position of danger and weakness as their opponents are older and stronger.
Although I enjoyed reading this book in some ways the characterisation felt rather lightweight. We didn't really see much character development and it was hard to really get into the heads of Hannah and Jules. The story has several narrators which served to give a good all-round view of events but it also meant that it was hard to know whom we should be supporting. Perhaps that was part of the idea of the book, to show that bad characters have some redeeming features and that good characters can do bad things to get results, but I found it a slightly awkward way of reading as my ideas of the characters seemed to have to change almost every page and I'm still not entirely sure at the end about Gabriel.
The romance aspect of this book was also a little problematic to me. It seemed to develop more for reasons of proximity than anything else and was really a side-issue to the main plot of vampire hunting. The book made a rather sluggish start but picked up towards the end where it became more enjoyable with tense situations for our hero and heroine. Overall it was a reasonable read but nothing special.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book [...] © 2007 Helen Hancox