Blood Law by Jeannie Holmes
Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Mass Market Paperback (DELL, 400 pages, $7.99)
To stop a vampire killer, she’ll have to slay her own demons first.
A provocative and savvy vampire, Alexandra Sabian moves to the sleepy hamlet of Jefferson, Mississippi—population 6,000, half vampires—to escape the demons lurking in her past. As an enforcer for the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations (FBPI), Alex must maintain the uneasy peace between her kind and humans, including Jefferson’s bigoted sheriff, who’d be happy to see all vampires banished from town. Then really dead vamps start turning up—beheaded, crucified, and defanged, the same gruesome manner in which Alex’s father was murdered decades ago. For Alex, the professional has become way too personal.
Things get even more complicated when the FBPI sends in some unnervingly sexy backup: Alex’s onetime mentor, lover, and fiancé, Varik Baudelaire. Still stinging from the betrayal that ended their short-lived engagement, Alex is determined not to give in to the temptation that soon threatens to short-circuit her investigation. But as the vamp body count grows and the public panic level rises, Varik may be Alex’s only hope to stop a relentless killer who’s got his own score to settle and his own bloody past to put right.
Author Site: jeannieholmes.com
Okay for a debut novelist, looking forward to more! (3 stars)
The Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations uses its resources to solve crimes against vampires. Enforcers like fiery, fierce Alexandra Sabian and her former lover/mentor Varik Baudelaire, face trouble on all sides as they attempt to keep the peace between vampires and humans. A shaky peace that wasn't even known to be needed until the murder of Alex's father back in the 60's. When her dad's grisly murder prompted the vampires to reveal themselves the world was turned upside down.
Decades have passed and even with plenty of water under the bridge there are plenty of folks who hate vampires. Jefferson, Mississipi's sheriff certainly holds no warmth for the bloodsuckers making up half the local population. When murdered vamps start piling up with a creepy similarity in MO to the murder of Alex's father the humans do more to hinder the investigation than aid it. Enter Varik and the dirty laundry never aired out between the two Enforcers. If they're going to work together and find the killer they'll have to fight fires both of the physical kind and the romantic.
First I have to admit I probably didn't love Blood Law as much as I wanted to because I had some strong preconceived notions about the strong Southern heroine type. Alex is definitely cut from the right cloth, she's just been put together by a seamstress still new to the craft. There are a lot of characters brought into this story, for me as a reader there were a few too many to keep track of. Many of them were good, in particularly I liked Tasha, the liaison between the FBPI and the cops, but I feel like some of them were under developed. I'm not an editor so I can't really offer anything from that realm but as a reader I think the lack of depth to them made me not care about their parts of the story.
The romance—a very complicated one at that—between Alex and Varik was a bit frustrating. There was a lot of back story I felt I was missing for too long. Once I finally got enough to understand some of the conflict between them I had a bit of an "uh that's all it was?" moment. Anticlimactic! Argh! Even still they make a couple I want to read more of.
The actual meat of the story, the vampire murders plot, is good. My only beef with it is that sometimes it felt driven more by Alex's getting into one bad situation after another to the point of feeling a bit contrived. A little more natural flow (maybe have someone other than Alex getting hurt??) would have been good.
One area I felt was really left open is the world building. As far as I can tell the vampires of Holmes' world are basically blood drinking humans with a supernatural gift. Long lives are hinted at but not a lot is elaborated on. If you're a reader who doesn't mind waiting for more details in a series I think you'll get just enough to keep you interested in following the characters into further installments of this series. And yes, there is a sequel in the works, I checked with Holmes to find out.
Overall, I can't say I loved Blood Law, but I didn't dislike it either. Some of the previously mentioned areas kept me from being able to quite give it four stars but as a debut novel I think it's worth recommending to urban fantasy junkies like me who are looking for something fresh. Holmes has the right ingredients for an enticing new series all she needs now is to keep challenging herself as a newly minted author and we should be reaping the rewards very soon!
If you have reviewed this book please comment to this post, I am looking for other reviews to link to!
Notes: As per my request I received an ARC from the author.