Saturday, June 1, 2013

Book Review: Murder in Vein by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Madison Rose Vampire Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery with very dead characters
Cons: A bit too dark for my taste in places
The Bottom Line:
Yes, it's a bit dark
But these vampires still charm
With a strong story

Meet the Newest Vampires on the Scene

Normally, I stick to the realistic genres in my reading.  It's not necessarily because I don't like fantasy; I just don't have time for it.  And, outside of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I don't do vampires.

So what am I doing reading Murder in Vein?  It's the first in a new series by Sue Ann Jaffarian who has become a favorite author in the last year.  Despite the vampire theme, I had to give it a try.  While it wasn't a perfect fit for me, I did enjoy it.

Madison Rose thinks her life is over.  She's tied up, being held prisoner for someone who has yet to appear.  But just as she is about to be killed, someone or something attacks her kidnapper and rescues her.

Madison's rescuer turns out to be a vampire, and she's shocked by the revelation that they exist.  Turns out she is the latest victim of a serial killer that the vampires want caught before their secret existence is revealed.  And they want to use Madison in an elaborate plan to catch the killer.  Should she go along with it?  Will she be in danger either way?

While Madison is a living human (a beater), most of the main characters are vampires.  The main vampires are a retired couple who could pass as the perfect grandparents.  But the book features plenty of others, including a couple of younger male vampires and several female vampires.  And there are some other human characters, including a cop who also knows the secret that vampires are real.  All these characters came fully alive (or is that fully dead?) for me.

The plot jumps right into the story, but the first 100 pages seemed a bit slow to me.  Part of it was because Madison had to discover what we already knew, that these are vampires.  And there is plenty of exposition as Madison learns the difference between real vampires and the Hollywood stereotype of vampires.  But the story is always progressing, and once the foundation of this new universe is established, it really kicks into high gear.  I was always wondering where things would go next and just how things would be resolved.

I knew going in that this book would be darker than Sue Ann's normal light, fun mysteries.  I mean, with many of the main characters being vampires or want to be vampires, that's hardly a surprise.  If I hadn't known that, I would have figured it out pretty quickly.  There are some pretty gruesome scenes and a couple that weren't to my normal taste.  I'm not going to say I liked them, although I did feel those scenes and their aftermath were handled pretty well.  Fortunately, there were only a couple of scenes that really bothered me.  The rest were more in line with a normal mystery.  And Sue Ann still manages to infuse the book with humor to help offset some of the darker moments.

I'm glad I gave the vampires of Murder in Vein a chance.  If Sue Ann's fans go into this with the right mindset, they will probably find they enjoy it despite the dark tone.  And any fan of vampires will enjoy this slightly different take on the popular mythology.

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