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on 6 May 2004
This is the FIFTH book in Tanya Huff's 'Victory Nelson, Investigator: Otherwordly Crimes a Speciality' series. The first four (in order) are: Blood Price, Blood Trail, Blood Lines and Blood Pact. I would strongly recommend reading them in order.
Ms Huff knows how to write unpretentious prose with a good sense of style, pace and humour. She makes the very occasional 'in' joke - but if you don't get them, you must be VERY new to the field.
Our heroine, Vicki Nelson, is the usual fictional private investigator - in that she is tenacious, aggressive and something of a maverick. A decorated police officer invalided out of the force due to deteriorating eye sight (the devastating condition retinitis pigmentosa), which has already rendered her night-blind, the book opens with her witnessing a gruesome murder. This turns out to be the first in a series which has the local (Toronto) press screaming that there is a vampire on the loose.
Like the best stories, Vicki isn't the only interesting recurring character. There is her ex-partner (in both senses), Mike, still a serving police officer. And then there is Henry Fitzroy, illegitimate son of Henry VIII (a nicely researched touch) and, of course, vampire.
All three of them are trying to solve the murders and we are swept along by brisk plotting and interesting characterisation.
I dislike the 'if you like this, then you'll like that' sort of recommendation, but we all use it because it is SO useful! If you like Laurell K Hamilton's stuff - or even if you find her books overly, shall we say, sexually obsessive? then you'll love these. If you are a relative newcomer to the genre, but like detective stories, you'll like these too.
Over the five books in the series I have read so far, she has developed the characters well, and without giving anything away, I would REALLY recommend not reading this one without reading the first 4, as this fifth one contains an, er, 'considerable character development'! It was the first one of the series I read and oh, do I wish I'd read them in order! Another recommendation - don't read the backs of the books if you can help it....I DO wish they wouldn't give away so much of the plots!
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on 31 August 1997
Blood Debt is the latest in Tanya Huff's series of books featuring Henry Fitzroy, a Tudor-age vampire who writes Elizabethan Romances for a living, Victory Nelson, a former Toronto Policewoman turned Private Eye, and Mike Cellucci, a Toronto Police Detective. As in the earlier books in the series, the mystery around which the plot revolves is engaging, and the dialog is witty and full of genre-related in-jokes. I would have given the book a 9 or 10, except for the fact that the first two books in the series are clearly superior. Hence, for relativity's sake, Blood Debt gets an 8.
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on 2 March 1997
Human Detective Sergeant Mike Celluci of the Toronto Police Department is elated that Henry Fitzroy is out of his vampiric lover's life. Henry was forced to turn Vicki into a creature of the night in order to save her life. In doing this he gave up all claim to her because (as everyone knows) it is a basic law of vampiric physiology that two vampires can never live in the same territory. However, all that changes when Henry awakens to see a spirit haunt him. Unless he discovers who killed the spirit and avenge the creature's death, everyone around Henry could face mortal danger.
....Henry knows that he lacks the skills needed to track down a killer. He turns to Vicki, who still operates as a private detective, for help. Vicki agrees to take on the case. As the trio work together to hunt down a murderer, an unusual occurrence happens. The more time that Vicki and Henry spend together, the less incidents of territorial ownership occurs (the lesser known corollary to Vampiric Physiology I). This enables them to forge a new relationship that excludes Celluci without undermining his relationship with the vampire that he loves.
....In this final installment of Tanya Huff's vampire series, the author brilliantly sews up all the loose ends from the previous four novels. The greatness of Ms. Huff shines through as she facilitates the feeling that all three lead characters will live happily ever after. BLOOD DEBT is part romance, part mystery, and totally entertaining as it expands the boundaries and raises the standard of the supernatural romance. The entire series is a must read for fans of otherworldly romance.

....Harriet Klausner
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on 9 July 1997
xcellant book. Nicely ties up a number of the loose ends from the previous "Blood" books, yet leaves just enough of an opening that she could bring it up again.

That being said, I hope she doesn't. I like Vicki Nelson and the relationships that are built in this series. However, with the constant taste of violence in their relationships towards each other (the violence, as well as the relationship), I'm not sure that bringing them together (closely) would be a good idea in the long run...something akin to playing with nitro glycerin, just to see what would happen.

Huff's a good writer. And, long run, should she write another book in this series, I'll likely get it. But I'll have bloody high expectations of her. And with good reason...she rarely lets me down.
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on 23 March 2016
I bought the whole series after having watched Blood Ties on Prime. The show unfortunately was cancelled after one season but it did mention that it was based on Tanya Huff's Vicky Nelson books. Google did his magic and I found these books. I read almost one a day. It's a dynamic who'd done it with a vampire twist, some romance and loads and loads of witty banter. Loved the whole series.
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Private Investigator Vicki Nelson has only been a vampire for two years. She spent the first year in Vancouver with her sire, Henry Fitzroy, as he helped her learn to survive. But every vampire knows that once you create another of their kind and spend a year teaching it, the two must part ways due to their territorial natures. So after one year with Henry, Vicki returned to Toronto and her mortal lover, Detective-Sergeant Mike Celluci, who welcomed her back with open arms.

When Henry calls for Vicki's help, Mike takes time off from the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department to go with her. A ghost is appearing to Henry as he wakens each night. (And only to Henry.) Henry can ask only one question and if the answer's yes, it disappears quietly, and if the answer's no, it screams. When it screams, Henry senses a multitude of dead voices and an innocent person nearby dies. The ghost is scaring people to death.

Vicki and Henry have no choice but to work together if they are to lay this specter to rest. As the pair attempt to overcome their territorial natures and investigate the possibility of organ-legging, Mike does his best to keep Vicki and Henry from killing each other.

*** THREE STARS! This is the last full-length story in the Blood Series. For those wanting more, there is a book (anthology) of short stories titled Blood Bank. (Available only in paperback at the time of this review.) Vicki and Mike also make an appearance in one other anthology (one story among thirteen total) titled A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters.

Author Tanya Huff puts her unique spin on the urban legend of someone waking to find one of their kidneys missing. In this story, a secondary character explains to readers why the odds of it ever happening for real is slim-to-none. The paranormal element involved this time around is a ghost who plays twenty questions with deadly results. If nothing else, this series definitely shows the author's interest in myths and urban legends. And this is a good one to end the series with. Well done. ***

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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on 28 February 2009
great read recommened if like vampire romance and action as well as seeing the tv series based on the books (blood ties)
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on 11 January 2010
This is the fifth and last book in the series by Tanya Huff about Vicki Nelson, Henry Fitzroy and Mike Celluci. We pick up the tale as Henry finds himself haunted by a tormented ghost and realises he needs the specialist help of Vicki.

It is hard to review this book completely without spoiling the events at the end of Blood Pact, but I shall attempt it!

Although there is a ghost involved, the mystery itself is the most mundane out of the five books - concerning an organisation set up to profit from the harvesting of organs. Since Huff persists in signposting her villains, making identifying them extremely easy, these books are not whodunnits and so Huff has to rely on ramping up the tension from supernatural elements. Here there are just human foes - when you have humans one side and vampire the other, you already know who will win (or who should do!), which means the central mystery has no real tension or ambiguity over the resolution.

Instead Huff concentrates on writing tension into the relationships between the three main characters, who have been involved in a love triangle from the second book in the series. I liked the way Huff dealt with Vicki and Henry in this book - it was both heart-breakingly sad and yet hopeful at the same time.

Mike remains a fabulous character. He is by far my favourite character of the series. I love his nobility and his desire to see justice done - but within the parameters of the law. Henry describes Mike best with this:

"Henry had done what he could, but he hadn't been strong enough to finish; he needed more blood. Michael Celluci had offered his, even though he believed that it meant he'd lose everything.

In over four hundred and fifty years of living as an observer in humanity's midst, it had been the most amazing thing Henry Fitzroy had ever seen."

Mike is snarky, clever, exasperated; I love the way he deals with Vicki, alternating between tenderness and arguments - the only thing I wish is that he would get a damn haircut so that Vicki doesn't need to constantly brush that curl of hair back off his face!

Tony comes to the fore here as well. His desire to extricate himself from Henry; his desperation to do the right thing but not hurt others is admirable and written in a realistic way.

I enjoyed the snappy pacing and dialogue-heavy writing. Huff also does a fine job with descriptive passages - bringing places and situations to life with a few efficient words.

I'll make a brief comment on how dated these books sometimes feel - here Tony works in a video store and spends time rewinding the tapes; and one of the characters expresses surprise at the use of a cellphone. Having said that, I shall also say that these books stand up well to the test of thirteen years passing. They still sound fresh and engaging. In a genre now crowded, Huff was one of the first to pair detecting with supernatural forces - and, when reading about Vicki and Henry, you still gain a sense of how exciting and *new* they must have seemed when first released.
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on 7 May 2009
henry calls from vancouver and asks vicki for help as he is being visted by ghosts. but they havent seen each other since vicki returned to toronto after their year together after henry make her a vampire. body parts are being harvested from bodies and then the bodies are being dumped. so vicki,henry and cellucci are on the case. as much of a happy ending as these three characters can have. great series.
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on 4 May 2010
Good stand alone novel, you don'y have to read the series to get the plot. Not much devlopment between the 2 major characters it very slim on any kind of romance but hey you can't have everything.
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