The prologue to Julie Ann Dawson’s A Game of Blood opens with Vampyre Night at Club Decadence, but the vampires in question are costumed party-goers and really don’t seem worth the effort Rachel went to to get a fake ID. Then she sees that one perfectly handsome stranger…
The cops assigned to find or save Rachel when she goes missing aren’t impressed with vampire wannabes either, but clever detective work and wise intuitive leaps offer surprising leads. Soon Mitch is obsessing over rich guy Darius while Rodney wonders if he’s just deflecting depression at the absence of his wife. The case is solved, but the hero can’t rest and continues to dig, backtracking and finding out more.
What Mitch finds should be unbelievable, but the author ties it together convincingly, carrying the reader along into an enthralling game of cat and mouse. Darius pulls strings. Mitch pulls a gun. And the mystery deepens relentlessly with every turn of the page. Which one’s the cat, the reader begins to ask, and who’s the mouse?
A Game of Blood is filled with entirely believable characters and a well-designed mix of prosaic and otherworldly situations and dangers. Kids in school argue free speech. Technology delivers ambivalent results. Police follow standard procedures. Meanwhile Darius and his butler perform their dangerous dance, and Mitch is drawn inexorably onto the floor. Decadence meets duty. Redemption meets protection. Good and evil intertwine, skipping along to their own tune. And the perfectly handsome, oddly alluring stranger remains distinctly strange.
It’s to do with identity. “What does your antagonist need?” asks a friendly writer. But how can mortals grasp the needs of immortals? And how is the impossible Darius drawn to see what Mitch might need? A great mix of police procedural and urban fantasy, A Game of Blood successfully combines crime story with horror thriller and leaves this reader hoping the author might decide to continue the saga.
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to get a free ecopy of this book when it was offered in a deal.
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About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth (SheilaDeeth)
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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What would you do if a 300 year old vampire decided that you would make the perfect Van Helsing for his own twisted game?
A series of kidnappings leads detective Mitch Grogan to the home of the wealthy and eccentric Darius Hawthorne. What he discovers there unleashes a chain of events that not only threatens his life, but his sanity. Grogan finds himself caught up in a deadly game with a three hundred year old vampire looking for a worthy adversary. But more than boredom drives the cunning Hawthorme. His attempts to push Grogan to the breaking point are more than cruel entertainment. They also serve as a test to see whether or not the mortal is ready to help him hunt an even more deadly foe.