The following is a guest post from Margot St. Aubin, who can be found on the other side of this shiny and well-crafted link. Her post today is a review of our own Declan Finn’s second vampire-based horror-romance novel, Murphy’s Law of Vampires.
Students at a San Francisco college are battling for their lives against denizens of the night. Marco arrives to give them an education in more than just snark and medicine. He’s a PA intern with an attitude problem and a strong aptitude for killing vampires. When a demon terror is sent to take him out, will separation from his beloved Amanda coupled with the foggy San Fran scene be more than he can handle?
So how to summarize this properly? If you know nothing about the series, it’s classic vampires done right, with a more action, a healthy dose of Catholicism, and a gasp-worthy subplot of sizzling romance. Reasonably chaste romance it is, but in this case less is definitely more. Declan paints more passion with intense chemistry, light petting, and a well placed email than too many writers manage with full frontal adultery.
Let no one be fooled, there is quite a bit of action and beat-down in this book. Mr. Finn could defiantly day job as a Hong Kong action choreographer. He describes with precision and vivid language, yet without excessive gore. Though justifiably horror, it does not resemble Michael Lumley in the gross out category. The categorization isn’t just about supernatural creatures that battle in the night. This also has much classical suspense tied up in both plot and in character outcome.
Let’s introduce our excellent characters, shall we? (Mild spoilers ahead, mostly for the first book, Honor at Stake.)
First we have Marco, the monster with a heart of stone. He likes it when people threaten him, because then he can hurt them. Funny thing is, he’s not the vampire. This quote summarizes him better than I can.
“ “Vampire?” He shrugged. “Oh, we had a few problems with them in Brooklyn. No big deal, more like a nasty infestation of cockroaches. In fact, we have nastier roaches.”
Basically, he’s a combat-ready, Catholic Sam Axe with an attitude problem.
Next up is the female lead, Amanda.
[Amanda] shrugged. “I go to Church. That does not make me powerful.”
[Amanda] “I get most of my blood from the Sacred Blood in the chalice at Mass. I’m usually the last one up, so I finish the cup.”
This means she’s a bit out of synch with her brethren of the night. Steeped in God’s call to action, she is not exactly well connected. It is both a blessing and a curse that the denizens of the night keep finding her. Hers is a mysterious and busy past, whose moments are usually weapons. She is a soul that the warrior saints would recognize. After a 20 year rest from God knows what, she’s being called back into the fray. Unfortunately for her, and fortunately for us, that means meeting people. Though the principals are focused in different directions, we get a lot of good Amanda moments in this book.
Who is our villain? Mr. Day sounds like a boring name— a disturbingly boring name, like when you see a broad shouldered, blank faced man dressed in black who calls himself “Mr. White”. What gave the game away? Our proverbial Mr. White has his barely noticeable earwig, a perfect ramrod posture and supernatural nonchalance at the scene of a disaster. In the puzzling case of Mr Day, he looks like an utterly uninteresting weakling until he single handedly levels a hospital without breaking a sweat. Flying wood shrapnel, garlic clusters and holy relics don’t phase him. He can go toe to toe with Amanda and walk away smiling. Amanda, not so much.
Add up all this and exploring Merle Kraft’s stomping grounds of exotic San Francisco, his “scooby gang” of night fighting college students are in for a grave challenge against the forces of Hell. You will be glad to know that the third book is already available once you finish this one. Trust me. You’ll want to jump right into the next volume of the series.