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Eden Blackwell is a complicated young vampire. She wants her
childhood friends to love and accept her, despite their paltry human attributes
and their disgust at her recent choice to become a preternatural bloodsucker.
Eden was reborn into an ancient coven, run by the sexy and powerful Lucius, a
better looking, undead version of Hugh Heffner, but now she does what she can
to exist in the world of mortals.
And why not? Vampires, werewolves and even the occasional
zombie now live practically side by side with the human population in all the
major civic centers, have the same legal rights, and even claim to have souls.
Unfortunately, this integration of beings with disparate needs and desires
causes a bit of tension in society. Eden does her part by serving the powerful
Catholic Church as a preternatural bounty hunter. She will strong-arm her own
kind if they step out of line by working with the police, solving mysteries and
catching nightstalkers. Well, it takes one to know one.
BLOOD HUNTER (Asylett Press) is the first in J.S. Marich’s
(pictured above) series of preternatural detective novels featuring the lovely
Eden Blackwell, a raven-haired, boot wearing, double dagger toting, reluctant
wild-thing. She barely gets by on bounty collection, but someday police work
might pay off in more than just romance and excitement, allowing her to keep up
with her rent and filthy piles of laundry.
Her adventure reads like a well-planned screenplay, visuals
are tangible and characters are familiar, round and believable, their dialogue
laced with pithy comebacks and asides. In fact, the text is almost over-laden
with details that delay the plot at times, working against the rush of
excitement Marich skillfully builds up for the reader. This intricate stylistic
choice doesn’t affect the worth of the novel, but it can slow one down.
Aside from these descriptive digressions, the story is
furiously paced and contains several amusing threads that intrigue the reader
to continue the series. Marich balances humor and satire nicely with serious
crime, psychological depth and very well described gore. For example, the
reader will agree that it is better not to have chunks of intestine floating
around in one’s cup of blood.
Marich describes an urban landscape 50 years hence, where
the only visible alteration is in the population; muscle cars, weaponry,
medical science are all left unchanged; you’ll find no sci-fi here. Religion
and prejudice is the enemy of the monster population, and, though the
government is working toward enfranchisement, normal humans consider them
pariahs and segregate themselves into gated communities whenever possible. This
leaves the grittier city outskirts at the mercy of the creatures of the night
who try to abide in peaceful marginality, without ripping humans apart for
dinner. Fortunately for Eden, they don’t all succeed in controlling their
Marich’s tone and style, her characters and the subtle
reluctance of her heroine create a sophisticated twist on this common theme,
and BLOOD HUNTER is, well, cool. The author is also running a beautifully
animated website that includes a description of her other horror work, The
Necromancer Series. Book one is QUEEN OF THE ZOMBIEs, and, like BLOOD HUNTER,
it appears to be a fresh look at female charged carnage.
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