On the run from his past, Heinrich Stratus, an eight-hundred year old German born vampire, reluctantly embraces what he is and longs for somewhere he can finally belong. After what seems like an endless search, Heinrich finds himself in a small and quiet town in California known as Santo Paulo. Soon after arriving, he meets a kind family who welcomes him to town. He is not used to receiving any kindness from strangers, given his choice of Gothic styled wardrobe, and career as a music journalist. Heinrich begins to develop hope that Santo Paulo may be what he has been searching for all these years. Of course, not everyone in town is as kind and genuine as they appear to be...
That same evening, Heinrich hears a cry from an alleyway and rushes to help the man despite the constant doubts running through his mind. His doubts were right; as Heinrich nears him, the man raises his gun and tells Heinrich to give him all his valuables. Heinrich fights back and gets shot in the process. Luckily, Heinrich is not harmed given that he is a vampire, but now needs to replace his leather jacket to avoid any questioning.
This leads to Heinrich meeting Hope, a young college student and daughter of very religious parents, at the clothing store where she works. Hope enjoys his company and befriends him immediately. As they spend more time together; their interest in each other is evident to those around them, while they each secretly hope that the feelings are mutual.
Coincidentally, upon Heinrich's arrival to town, several dead bodies of brutally murdered young college women are discovered. With Heinrich near almost every crime scene, he becomes the prime suspect. Heinrich must prove his innocence without revealing his secret to anyone, and while trying to protect Hope from becoming the killer's next victim...
The Deviant is a thrilling mystery novel which will have you guessing who the serial killer is right until the very end. Heinrich is a sympathetic character that shows admirable respect to those around him who decide to take a closer look at who he really is. Although Heinrich has always felt he could never fit in, nor ever be loved for what he truly is, he is proven wrong once meeting Hope.
My favorite elements of the novel would have to be how The Deviant incorporates more traditional vampire myths with intriguing twists, as well as the added mystery aspect to the novel. Heinrich's background was especially interesting to me, offering just enough answers to many questions. Having the story take place in a small town opposed to a large city strengthened the plot and made the story complete. I also enjoyed the dog in the story, and how he and Heinrich look after one another.
Orren Merton did a fantastic job in writing this more traditional vampire tale. I was kept in suspense throughout the novel, and was not able to guess who the killer was until the very end when it was revealed. There were also some short chapters which made it really hard to put down. The Deviant will keep you guessing what will happen next throughout the course of the novel, ending with a jaw dropping twist.
I believe Orren Merton shows great talent and originality through this novel. I recommend The Deviant to anyone who enjoys mystery thrillers, suspense and a little hint of romance.
4/5 - An Enjoyable Read, Well Written, Recommended
*Disclaimer: I recieved a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.*