After finishing the second book in the Jessica McClain series and waiting with baited breath (oh about three seconds) I hastily dived into book three, Cold Blooded, and for newbies to the series there's quite a bit to catch up on but Carlson helpfully drops in reminders of the action throughout the first few chapters. But for those who took time between reads or are new to the series and starting with this one, here's a recap.
SPOLIERS AHEAD: Jessica McClain is the only female werewolf in an all male werewolf pack. She was never supposed to change, it wasn't supposed to be possible but when she hit 26 years old, change she did, causing uproar in the supernatural community. A pack of wolves led by evil witch/goddess Selene tried to kidnap Jessica, but she is dragged off to hide in a cabin with werecat assassin Rourke, and to her shock, Rourke is her true mate. By the time the second book starts, Rourke has been captured by the temporarily defeated Selene and Jessica must set out to rescue him, along with her brother Tyler, friend Danny, human cop Ray who poked his nose into her business to often, and too vamps loaned to her by the Vampire Queen in exchange for a 'favour' at a later date. By the time the third book arrives, werewolf James has gone AWOL, Jess is reunited with her mate, but a new problem presents itself as secretary and witch Marcy has disappeared. Caught up so far? Great! Then I'll begin.
Jessica and her entourage are being hunted by the demons so she can appear in the 'Underworld Court'. With very few options, they head for New Orleans to the Vampire Queen, with newly converted Ray in tow. Jessica has a debt to repay to the Queen for her help with the two vamps in the previous book. As with the two previous novels, Carlson's voice as Jessica is strong and distinctive, sarcastic and witty. She gathers followers and loyal soldiers everywhere she goes because of this strength of character. Unfortunately for her enemies, they are constantly underestimating her.
As for the vampires, they're not sparkly and they're certainly not very humane, even if Naomi and Ray show more personality than others. It's a refreshing change to read of nasty vampires again, after they've been domesticated in so many ways in the past.
As is typical of this series, it is action packed and great fun with surprises along the way, and this novel also ends with a humdinger of a cliff hanger, leaving the reader waiting with baited breath for the fourth instalment.