Monday, August 9, 2010

Review: Blood Law by Jeannie Holmes

Blood-Law Title: Blood Law
Author: Jeannie Holmes
Published: July 6th 2010 by Dell
Genre: Urban Fantasy

To stop a vampire killer, she’ll have to slay her own demons first.
A provocative and savvy vampire, Alexandra Sabian moves to the sleepy hamlet of Jefferson, Mississippi—population 6,000, half vampires—to escape the demons lurking in her past. As an enforcer for the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations (FBPI), Alex must maintain the uneasy peace between her kind and humans, including Jefferson’s bigoted sheriff, who’d be happy to see all vampires banished from town. Then really dead vamps start turning up—beheaded, crucified, and defanged, the same gruesome manner in which Alex’s father was murdered decades ago. For Alex, the professional has become way too personal.
Things get even more complicated when the FBPI sends in some unnervingly sexy backup: Alex’s onetime mentor, lover, and fiancé, Varik Baudelaire. Still stinging from the betrayal that ended their short-lived engagement, Alex is determined not to give in to the temptation that soon threatens to short-circuit her investigation. But as the vamp body count grows and the public panic level rises, Varik may be Alex’s only hope to stop a relentless killer who’s got his own score to settle and his own bloody past to put right.

Blood Law follows enforcer Alex Sabian who has to solve gruesome crimes in Jefferson, Mississippi. The victims: vampires. For Alex, these crimes are personal, as the victims are murdered exactly in the same way as her father many years ago. When more and more bodys turn up and Alex seems to be in over her head, reinforcement is sent: Varik Beaudelaire, a vampire Alex has a past with. But before solving this crime, they have to work out their own differences.

There are quite a few Urban Fantasy novels that feature a crime/detective story plot, but somehow, Blood Law is different from them. In Blood Law, vampires are not your typical almighty supernatural creatures. They are neither inhumanely strong nor weak. They rather seem to be humans who need human blood to survive and are therefore discriminated. There is a brand of synthetical blood called Vlad´s Tears, but it´s not a real replacement or alternative for real human blood. A huge part of the story deals with the discrimination the vampires have to deal with – be it that bars who sustain their blood-drinking lifestyle are being fought against or the typical prejudices normal humans seem to have with vampires. Their struggle to integrate into human society and to find their place therein is written really well, realistic and considerate. I would not go so far as to call the worldbuilding weak, as I think that Jeannie Holmes has created the vampires like this on purpose, but for me as a lover of true Urban Fantasy with rich mythology and vivid, realistic worldbuilding like Ilona Andrew´s version of Atlanta, it seemed just not well, paranormal enough. Even though a great deal of the book is told from a vampire´s POV, I felt like we don´t get enough information about them, like how old can they be, how the whole vampire society works (is there something like that at all?), stuff like that. We only get the bits and parts that are crucial for the story.

The crime story aspect of the book however was really good written. Even though parts of the book are told from the killer´s perspective, Jeannie Holmes does not give away too much so it becomes obvious who he/she is. The story is quite fast. A lot of things happen (I really don´t want to give away too much for those of you who haven´t read it yet) that will keep you interested and guessing. Also, Jeannie Holmes succeeds in very subtly adding another story line featuring Alex´s father that raises questions and leaves them open for maybe the next book in the series.

Of course, Blood Law is also about Varik and Alex and their past and present relatonship. Their background is left unknown for quite a while in the book, so that you keep asking yourself what exactly happened between them to destroy their previous engagement so thouroughly. They do get closer again in the book and the romatic tension is well written, but you shouldn´t expect a PNR. I´m looking forward to see how things work out between the two of them in the next book. I´ll have to admit though that if I were Varik´s love interest, I would send hom to a good hair stylist, but well, that´s just me! :)

Favourite scene: My favorite scene as in favorite creepy were the scenes in the murderer´s house, especially later on, when we get to know more about him and he starts interacting with a ghost. I also liked how concernd Alex´s brother was about her and her well being. Since I have a very good relationship with y sister myself, I kind of have a soft spot for it in books as well.

All in all: I liked Blood Law, but I didn´t love it. That´s not because it is a bad book, I guess it´s more because it was too focused on the murder plot for my taste. Those of you who enjoy a good crimy mystery with light paranormal elements might actually live it, because for a debut, Blood Law is amazingly well written. I did however enjoy the characters and the suspens Jeannie Holmes created. I´ll definetly read the next book in the series, Blood Secrets (due 2011), amongst other things because of the very interesting and promising storyline that developes near the end of the book.

Blood Law gets solid 3.5 of 5 points from me!





Emily said...

Very interesting and thoughtful review! I just picked this book up from the library so I'm definitely interested to see how our reading experiences compare.

Also, Blood Law is an August Blog with Bite pick so I definitely think you should link up your review over there ( the linky is posted!

Larissa {Larissa's Bookish Life} said...

Great review hon! I bought the Kindle edition of this one and it sounds great =D