Saturday, January 25, 2014

Spirit Sanguine

Title: Spirit Sanguine
Author: Lou Harper
Buy at Samhain
Buy at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genre: paranormal, vampire
• Adobe Acrobat for Sony
• eBook ETI-2
• Mobipocket/Kindle
• Rocketbook

Is that a wooden stake in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

After five years in eastern Europe using his unique, inborn skills to slay bloodsuckers, Gabe is back in his hometown Chicago and feeling adrift. Until he’s kidnapped by a young, sexy vampire who seems more interested in getting into his pants than biting into his neck.

Harvey Feng is one-half Chinese, one-hundred-percent vampire. He warns Gabe to stay out of the Windy City, but somehow he isn’t surprised when the young slayer winds up on his doorstep. And why shouldn’t Gabe be curious? A vegetarian vampire isn’t something one sees every day.

Against their better judgment, slayer and vampire succumb to temptation. But their affair attracts unexpected attention.

When Chicago’s Vampire Boss makes Gabe an offer he can’t refuse, the unlikely lovers are thrust into peril and mystery in the dark heart of the Windy City. Together they hunt for kidnappers, a killer preying on young humans, and vicious vampire junkies.

However, dealing with murderous humans and vampires alike is easy compared to figuring out if there’s more to their relationship than hot, kinky sex.

Product Warnings
Fangalicious man-on-man action, a troublesome twink, cross-dressing vampiress, and role-playing involving a fedora.


A fun take on vampires. We have vamps as people types, only moreso—the author has bloodsucking granola-boy, an undead mob boss, and a slayer who doesn’t know what to think any more.

Standard vampire tropes are here, turned slightly askew, and seen through a wavy lens, which matches the vamps and their backgrounds. Vamps can glamour, vamps can move preternaturally fast, and vamps can scheme, invent, and entice, and when they fall prey to human vices, they fall twice as hard. The need for not-blood is desperate for a vegetarian vampire, but don’t mistake this for another blood substitute seen on HBO, it’s got its own origin and effects.

The slayer Gabe is our POV character. When he’s confronted with new information, he’s flexible enough to reevaluate what he’s been taught and had taken for truth. Good thing, or he’d miss out on a lot of good times and some real live slayer-type adventures with twists. Vampires are not a uniform breed, and he’s got some adjusting to do.

The book has a structure we’ve seen from this author before, and she works it well. The stories have adventures that stand alone, but are connected through the relationship arc, which works best if read in order. The first story has both some of the best bits and some of the clunkier sections. The beginning had me doubting I could stay the distance because of the style, very infodumpy and awkward, but I persevered and was rewarded for it. Once Harvey gets a speaking part, the style picks up, becomes smoother and more organic, and the fun begins. There are some really lovely turns of phrase scattered through the work.

The second section is the longest and has some revelations for Gabe personally, including some plot elements that seemed extraneous. Perhaps later stories will capitalize on them, but they didn’t seem to advance the story here. The Las Vegas section at the end was fun, hazardous, and triumphant in turn, and was the strongest overall. Vampires as “other” and “dangerous” were up close and personal here, and most distant from being fangy humans.

Harvey, Gabe’s love-vamp, is fun but very much a fangy human most of the time. He’s not powerful as vampires go, and only in the last story does he really have a chance to shine. When he’s in either total granola mode or total vamp are when he’s most interesting. He is hanging on tight to the remnants of his humanity.

I had fun with this work, and was pleased to notice that there’s a free short on Amazon with Gabe and Harvey, which must fall some time after the events of at least the first section of this book. So I have one more vampalicious treat right away, and there’s a sequel on the way, scheduled for June. Harvey and Gabe have yet to totally solidify as a couple, and I’d like to see how it’s done.

I enjoyed the stories but was thrown a bit by the uneven style and odd inclusions. All the same, I’m making a note that there will be another helping of this couple to come my way this summer. 4 marbles

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