Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Review: Blood Bath & Beyond by Michelle Rowen

BLOOD BATH & BEYOND (An Immortality Bites Mystery)
by Michelle Rowen

PUBLISHER: Obsidian Mystery

RELEASE DATE: 04 October 2012

GENRE: Paranormal Mystery / Crime

Sarah Dearly is adjusting to life as a fledgling vampire but when her fiance, Thierry, takes a job with the Ring - the secret council in charge of keeping vampires in line - she gets more than a taste of danger.

In Las Vegas for Thierry's first assignment, they encounter a child beauty pageant from hell, as well as a vampire serial killer who threatens to expose the existence of vampires to the whole world.

And when Thierry's truly ancient history comes back to haunt him, it's up to Sarah to clear his name before their immortal lives come to an end.

It was love at first sight when I saw the cover art on this book. The colours are eye-catching and the style is classy and very graphic novel-ish. I immediately wanted to start reading it, which is no bad thing!

The opening sentence caught my attention: "The fangs don't get nearly as much attention as you'd think". And before I knew it, I was caught up in the lives of Sarah Dearly, a recently turned vampire, and her fiance, Thierry de Bennicoeur, a six hundred year old master vampire.

Sarah is a strong character who always sees the best in people. However, she absolutely has the worst luck! She is forever ending up in unexpected and sometimes life-threatening situations and it's amazing she manages to survive her trip to Las Vegas in one piece!

She is completely devoted to Thierry but she's not blinkered. She knows he has a LOT of past and that she's inevitably not going to like some of it but she's willing to deal with that because his past isn't who he is now.

There was never any question that when Thierry was blackmailed into working for the Ring, she wouldn't go with him. And since the Ring primarily exists to police vampiric behaviour, you know that trouble lies ahead.

We meet a whole range of characters in Las Vegas. There's Bernard, another master vampire, and Laura, a newly turned vampire, whose personalities and relationships lead Sarah to reflect on herself and her own relationship. Then there's Victoria Corday; 6 year old girl on the outside, 96 year old vampire on the inside...and beauty queen extraordinare! And Markus, the Ring's enforcer, who arrives in Las Vegas to take care of the vampire serial killer that's on the loose...and Thierry.

There's also some interesting twists on the usual vampire lore, with the biggest being that whatever age you're turned at, you're always inherently that age. So even though Victoria is 96, she's not a worldly vampire in the body of a little girl, she's still a little girl, with just a bit more life experience, particularly when it comes to winning beauty pageants.

The plot is fast-moving and you can see the start of an arc, which the author could explore in any number of ways in future books in the series. I think the series can potentially only get stronger as we learn more and more about the characters and the world they inhabit.

Blood Bath & Beyond was a light, entertaining read, with less emphasis on romance and more on mystery. If you've ever read the Undead series by Mary Janice Davidson or the Dark Ones novels by Katie MacAlister then you'll definitely enjoy this!


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