Sometimes a vampire's past can bite him in the ass.
Xan Marcelles--bassist for Crooked Fang, vampire and full-time asshole, is content with his quiet existence in the backwoods of Pinecliffe, Colorado. But life at the Pale Rider tavern is set to become a little more complicated when he gets entangled with a feisty, blue-haired damsel and her abusive soon-to-be ex-boyfriend.
To add to his woes, he's gone from hunter to hunted, and his past returns to haunt him when a phone call draws him back to New Mexico. With the help of friends from his living past, he must get to the bottom of a murder, and figure out where he stands with his lover and his band, all while keeping one step ahead of his enemies. Hiding won't be easy for him, especially with a mysterious woman dogging him every step of the way. Book Description
I was given this copy by publisher free for review, but as always on the basis that my opinion is honestly held, and whether paid for or free my views are not influenced by that. Integrity is important to me and gushing false reviews do neither author nor reader any favours. As always my views are what I honestly feel about this book.
Xan Marcelles has formed a band called Crooked Fang, for which he is bassist. He's a vampire so the nights spent playing provide him with both an income and occupation – important when you're a long lived vampire, although he is still young, having been a vampire for only a few decades, and also the drunken customers provide a way of getting food easily. He plays and lives at the Pale Rider tavern and he tries hard to keep under the radar and live looking as a human. His band mates consist of another very young vampire and two humans and they get frustrated that Xan will only play at Pale Rider. He was an assassin for a vampire faction but has managed to escape from that life, tiring of all the killing and he's trying hard to exist in the human plane but struggling with the limitations. He comes across an isolated character seeming to lack a direction in life. One day someone comes in to the club trying again to persuade him to allow the band to play elsewhere – she brings her blue haired sister with her and Xan gets introduced to Tabby. Thus begins a causal relationship between the two that escalates when tabby becomes pregnant from another lover – an abusive drug pusher. She tries to get Xan to accept he's the father and he tells her it’s impossible but still stays around at times – they have a strange relationship. Xan turns up after weeks away and they just pick up where they left off – I found that odd although it fits well with seemingly Xan's drifting existence. He seems shallow in some ways and yet shows strong emotions on occasion. The club is attacked one night and fearing someone from his past is after him he escapes back to his home district where he becomes embroiled in a murder and needs help from his old friends to uncover who is to blame.
I wanted to like this book – its a good length, just what I like and of course has vampires and a bad boy one at that except...Xan is just so bland. His relationship with friends and Tabby is shallow, apart from his old friend Scott – the one person who has known about him and supported him for a long time. He's not a dislikeable character just that there's not enough to really feel for him when things go wrong – in the way he doesn't seem to care much what happens to others I feel I don't really care what happens to him. I wanted to like him, he seemed so sad at times but somehow I just couldn't get that involved. For me to really enjoy a book I need to feel for the characters at least and to feel as if I'm “in” the story at best. I just felt detached from Xan and the events that unfolded though. The book was really slow to start and the first and second halves almost felt like two different books but with the same character leading it, although the return to Pale rider brought him full circle. There were some good plot lines but again they lacked real drama because the characters to me seemed unreal, just paper characters rather than real people. I think if the characters had been fleshed out more so they seemed either really likeable or people we can hate rather than the one dimensional types they appear I'd have liked this book far more. Its described as paranormal romance though its hard to describe the casual attachment to Tabby as romance unless there are future books planned where they become closer? If that happens I do hope Carrie works more on getting to make the characters realistic – and I’m a reader not a writer so how you do that I've no idea...it’s easy to criticize of course, far harder to actually DO the work which is why I read and don't write :)
The book itself is well edited and written, few errors and plots neatly tidied up and not left with holes, the length is great for readers like me and at £3.93 for 230 pages isn't averagely priced.
Stars: three and half. (Amazon only allow whole stars so it will show as 4 on there) If the people within the story were more vibrant and realistic then I would have gone for 4 or 4 and half as the actual story is promising, it’s just sad I couldn't fully appreciate it as I couldn’t empathize with the characters. Of course as always the reminder these are only my views and others will like different things and may enjoy the book far more.
Reviewed by Midnight Ruby
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