Review by Macky
TITLE: Spirit Sanguine
AUTHOR: Lou Harper
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing
BLURB: Is that a wooden stake in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
After five years in eastern Europe using his unique, inborn skills to slay bloodsuckers, Gabe is back in his hometown Chicago and feeling adrift. Until he’s kidnapped by a young, sexy vampire who seems more interested in getting into his pants than biting into his neck.
Harvey Feng is one-half Chinese, one-hundred-percent vampire. He warns Gabe to stay out of the Windy City, but somehow he isn’t surprised when the young slayer winds up on his doorstep. And why shouldn’t Gabe be curious? A vegetarian vampire isn’t something one sees every day.
Against their better judgment, slayer and vampire succumb to temptation. But their affair attracts unexpected attention.
When Chicago’s Vampire Boss makes Gabe an offer he can’t refuse, the unlikely lovers are thrust into peril and mystery in the dark heart of the Windy City. Together they hunt for kidnappers, a killer preying on young humans, and vicious vampire junkies.
However, dealing with murderous humans and vampires alike is easy compared to figuring out if there’s more to their relationship than hot, kinky sex.
Not having read many books by Lou Harper I was sort of new to her writing style. I had read a couple of shorts by her which I’d found very enjoyable, but this was my first full-length novel and after finishing, it certainly won’t be my last.
Spirit Sanguine was a real treat. I went off the boil with vampire books quite a while ago, the problem being that like a lot of tropes they’d been done to death, each one jumping on the others’ bandwagon and every one sounding and reading like a carbon copy of its predecessor.
Not this one. It was a breath of fresh air and an absolute pleasure to read. Split into three separate short stories it introduces two brilliant characters – Gabe the slayer and Harvey the vamp – both completely different to the usual slayer/vamp combo that we’re used to in general PNR books, including m/m and het ones.
So what’s so different about this one? Well, for a start, it’s funny. Harvey is great at the one liners and Gabe’s somewhat deadpan character a great recipient for them, they bounce off each other superbly and I found myself sniggering and giggling all the way through. Just my type of sense of humour… I love snarkiness in a story and this is full of it!
The vampire sighed. ” Don’t be a grumpy pants. Let’s say we agree you’re a slayer.”
“I should’ve disemboweled you last time,” he muttered. ” You’re just saying that. Entrails make a big mess.” Gabe felt the body under his hand shake, and he realised it was from laughter. ” Don’t make me laugh it hurts.”
“And you just happened to have six very sharp wooden sticks on you. Or were you just happy to see me?”
Harvey’s vamp is miles away from the snarly fangy, Grrr Arrrgh vamp behaviour that we generally know of, for one thing he’s vegetarian ( yep! I said vegetarian * snort* ) but he’s certainly no wimp, proving it quite a few times and Gabe finds things out about his past that makes him ponder all he’s been taught about killing vamps and the vampire community as a whole, causing him to rethink his role as a slayer and as the stories progress so does the relationship between these two totally engaging characters. I loved them both but I must admit Harvey was an absolute star and stole the show with his witty banter but Gabe has his moments too!
“You may be past it, but I can still die. How would you like that on you’re conscience?”
Starting as just a sexual attraction – and boy do they sizzle together – they become linked in ways that neither of them ever expect and all this just adds to the freshness of the ongoing plots. The book is split into three distinct stories, each one with its own storyline but at the same time linked by certain characters and threads. This was a nice change too. Lou could have quite easily put them out as three separate short stories but she gives them to us as a sort of anthology and I really liked that! The first of the three is the one where they meet and it is very amusing, setting up the tone and introducing the different vamp lore that Lou Harper has built around her characters, as Dill one of Harvey’s ditzy friends goes missing and they join forces to find him. Then the next two take on more sinister turns as Gabe and Harvey are now more established as a couple and Gabe starts work as a sort of private detective for the local big wig ‘mob style’ boss vamp. The middle and last each dealing with rogue vamps, murders, missing persons and cross dressing Vamps. Exciting but fun at the same time!
Talking of secondary characters we get to meet some great supporting ones, who add even more wit and substance to the book as a whole. There’s one character called Denton ‘ Dead Man’ Mills, who I believe is going to get his own book and if thats true then I’m first in line to read that one! All I can say is to meet this gang of quirky characters ( Twinky human Dill and his two ‘ daddies’ are also favourites ) you need to read this fantastic book. I personally couldn’t find anything negative to say about it…of course that’s my opinion, but I just fell in love with everything to the point were I had my rose coloured glasses on and pure enjoyment was driving me. I guess everyone will have their own thoughts on it but I’ll be very surprised if the majority of readers aren’t entranced with this refreshingly different take on the paranormal.
Please Ms Harper bring us more of Gabe and Harvey. There’s loads of mileage in these two and I need to sink my ‘ fangs’ into more of their sexy juicy stories… A definite 5 STAR read for me!
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