By Eric J. Gates
When a serial killer, known as the Blood Sucker kills the partner of FBI Agent Amy Bree, she is forced out of the Bureau. In short order, she is returned to work by an enigmatic Monsignor with connections to the Vatican. She’s partnered with a computer hacker formerly of the NSA. Together, they continue the search for the Blood Sucker. Unbeknownst to them, the killer is also hunting them. To further cloud the issue, they aren’t getting the full story of just what kind of monster is on the loose.
Oh no! Not another vampire story. Weeelll, yes and no. I won’t play spoiler, but this plot is, for me, better than some of vamp stuff I’ve read in the past.
Amy Bree: FBI agent in the Behavioral Science Unit, attended M.I.T., intelligent, likes puzzles, father worked at a hotel, grew up in Bar Harbor, Maine, has a younger brother
Santiago Cancelli: Monsignor, works out of the Vatican, late 40s, Spanish mother, Italian father, studied in Madrid and Rome, parents were murdered
Katie Lindon: 62, short, frail, spiky gray hair, gray eyes, teeth stained, in the story near the beginning she becomes Amy’s partner, father worked father worked as CIA station chief in Britain, mother was British, excellent computer hacker, formerly with the NSA, wears glasses, suffers from migraines
Marshall: Director of the FBI, overweight, sexist
Hugo DiConti: French, Jesuit priest
I really enjoyed Katie. Spicy. Intelligent. Strong-willed. I liked Amy’s intelligence but I didn’t really ‘see’ her, maybe because I didn’t get a physical description.
Good mix of characters. Generational type personalities from senior Katie to youthful Amy. I would have like some physical descriptions about Amy. Didn’t really get a mental image. No first name for Marshall. I liked DiConti except for the reasons listed below.
Not too bad for character voices. I don’t think conversations diverted into left field but dialogue was a bit wordy and ‘lecture-ish’ when building up to explanations and the climax.
Chapters vary in length. Some punctuation problems, misuse of semi-colons and other minor examples. Some misspelled words. Some overuse of ‘ly’ and ‘ing’ words, uh, especially (sorry, couldn’t think of another word) during the action scenes, although those scenes show good tension. A couple instances of profanity. I mention this next one because I catch it more often in books nowadays as, of late, we have been discussing it in my writers group. Actions that are put together that shouldn’t or can’t go together. This is not a real example, but the type I see a lot in this book: ‘He entered the room, putting down the book.’ This implies that both actions are going on at the same time and in this case they can but it doesn’t sound good. Make this sentence either two sentences or change the tense of the present action to past. I also saw a few instances where a series of verbs needed to be the same tense within the same sentence.
Reviews shouldn’t be about ‘what I would have like to have seen’, even though I do insert a bit of this from time to time. What I mean is, I try not to say, “Well, the plot should have had this or the author should not have included this part. Or it would have been better if the main character did such-and-such.” I’m not here to say what I would have done had I written this.
This being mentioned, I would have like to have seen more suspense or shadowy plans made by DiConti and his secret dark operatives in the Vatican. The reason I mention this is because-and this relates to Character-I liked DiConti and because he was referenced by Katie-and disliked by her-I wanted more of his behind the scenes schemes. For being a thorn in Cancelli’s side, he has a minor role.
This reminded me of J. Thompson’s, Night Blood. I haven’t read it-yet-but reading the back cover blurb, this book runs a ragged parallel. Gates has taken the historical views of vampires and given it a different spin. It’s intriguing and a lot better than some of the ‘traditional’ stuff, some of which has been popular in recent years. This is the beginning of a series and it might be worth taking a look at book two.