Dear Ms. Graham:
This is a vampire novel with great atmosphere. A little bit scary, with a whole lot of secret set in the mother of all vampire homes – New Orleans. The best part of this book was its creepy overtones, making the suspense more intense because the foreboding that was woven through the beginning of the novel.
Lauren Crowe is hosting a bachelorette vacation with her girlfriend, bride to be, and one other when they came across a fortune teller. Lauren feels uneasy but her girlfriends press her to choose one and have their fortunes read. She chooses a woman who gives them carefully worded futures whose nuances seem ominously clear to Lauren.
Shortly after Lauren’s arrival in New Orleans, the city becomes terrorized by a serial killer who is lopping off the heads of women and leaving them in the water. Mark Davidson believes the serial killer to be a vampire who he has been tracking for decades, even centuries. Mark and Stephen were once in a tragic love triangle that ended with Mark’s fiance’s death. When Mark first sees Lauren, he is taken aback by her resemblance to his dead fiance. He has no doubt that once Stephen sees her, she’ll be the next of Stephen’s victims. In trying to protect her, Mark and Lauren come in close contact with each other and, of course, are drawn to one other even in this dangerous time.
There are plenty appearances of previous characters, none with which I was familiar because this was the first in this series for me. I didn’t find those appearances to be intrusive nor did I find the mythology to be too complicated despite my previous inexperience.
This moody vampire novel was well paced, providing just the right spooky atmosphere with a well blended romance and action plot. Lacking, however, was the fully fleshed out issue of Mark’s previous fiance (and her uncanny similarity to Lauren) and Lauren’s lazy acceptance of Mark’s lies and deceit (not to mention that I would have totally been icked out by the fact that my boyfriend/lover initially fixated on me because I looked like his long dead fiance).
The mirroring between the prologue and epilogue lacked authenticity because the issue of Mark’s earlier obssession with his dead fiance was summarily dropped even though it was a driving force behind his actions. It was not clear in the story whether Lauren was meant to be the reincarnation of the dead woman or whether it was merely a coincidence. It’s possible the answer was there and I totally missed it. Had that point been clearer, I would have felt more invested in the romance. Having said that, vampire novels are a tough sell for me these days and I felt this wasn’t a derivative. B-