It began with the call no daughter ever wants to get, the call that told private investigator Vicki Nelson her mother had died. Mrs. Nelson’s coworker at the Queen’s University Life Science Department told Vicki that the cause of death was a heart attack, and that they’d be waiting for her to arrive in Kingston to make the funeral arrangements. But what started as an all too normal personal tragedy soon became the most terrifying case of Vicki’s career. For when Marjory Nelson’s body mysteriously disappeared from the funeral home, Vicki, her sometime lover and fellow investigator, vampire Henry Fitzroy, and her former homicide squad partner, Detective-Sergeant Mike Celluci, realized that there was something unnatural about her mother’s demise. Vicki swore she’d find the culprit, and see that her mother was properly laid to rest. But what she hadn’t counted on was that someone at Queen’s University seemed determined to keep Mrs. Nelson on the job — alive or dead!
This series continues to be a lot of fun. If you like urban fantasy and haven’t gotten around to this one yet, I highly recommend it. It’s a great early UF series that holds up really well. I mean, cell phones could have solved some plot issues in this book but considering this takes place in the early 90s… I’m not going to hold the past against it. 🙂
SOME SPOILERS BELOW SO IF YOU HAVEN’T STARTED THIS SERIES YET, I RECOMMEND SKIPPING THIS REVIEW.
This book is probably the most personal book in the series. Vicki finds herself dealing with the unexpected death of her mother. Not only that but when her mother’s body goes missing and turns up undead and leering at Vicki from outside her own house one night, things go from bad to worse. Plus she’s dealing with the whole messy love triangle and both Mike and Henry trying their best to be there for her while still kind of competing for her attention (seriously guys? timing?). Yikes. Vicki…has always been a tough nut to crack. Her character development over the course of this story is great but where it leaves off I’m not sure she’s grown all that much even though she’s certainly changed. Up until the very end she still has a hard time admitting (she doesn’t really other than in actions) that she loves Henry. Or that she loves Celluci. Part of it is because feelings isn’t something Vicki does. But having to deal with her mother’s death, she’s forced to confront her feelings here no matter how much she keeps trying to focus on the investigation and putting her emotions to the side. But, she does eventually break down and deal with things and she does realize she needs others in her life, does have feelings for both Mike and Henry.
Speaking of Mike and Henry. I will admit their confrontations got on my nerves a little bit here because really there is a time and place and this was neither the time nor the place but things had to come to a head eventually I suppose. I love that both Mike and Henry have absolutely no problems telling Vicki how they feel about her. They’re sure in their feelings. And while they are competing against one another they’re never really pushing Vicki one way or another even if they are pushing her to just make a decision one way or the other. (Side note: I don’t know why more love triangles can’t end in poly relationships–this would solve so many problems, just saying.) Anywho. Both Mike and Henry have great character growth here too. Henry is still wrestling with his past and what it means for his future with Vicki. Meanwhile Mike has gone from a skeptic to being the one to alert the rest of the police when monsters are on the loose (and in such a serious way it’s actually pretty hilarious and I laughed a lot at that part–oh, Mike). Also, when push comes to shove, Mike is willing to let Vicki go if that means saving her life.
The ONE thing that really annoyed me about this book is that in the end the decision of Mike vs Henry is taken away from Vicki anyway due to circumstances at the end of the book. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to spoil what happens BUT. I will say that I think some of the ‘vampiric nature’ in this series is bullshit. Those of you that have read this probably know what I mean. This does a great job of solving one of the issues in the book but it makes me so angry on a personal level. Like….whhyyyyyyy. Why would you do that to me, Huff? Welp. I guess we can’t always get what we want.
Back to the things I loved. The story, of course, was great. We’re dealing with the classic mad scientists here, like a Dr. Frankenstein type. There are all kinds of great ethical questions we’re dealing with all while Vicki is learning how to live with loss. The story is layered and it’s so well done. Even the villains in this one were interesting because they have their moments where you empathize with them.
Raging at the end aside, this was a fantastic book. I can’t be angry at the writing just because it didn’t end the way I wanted it to. (Okay, sure I could do that but I’m not going to.) It was another great classic monster story brought to life (hah) and the characters had a strong showing here. 4.5/5 stars.