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Kiss of the Vampire
Cynthia Garner
Grand Central Publishing, 338 pages

Kiss of the Vampire
Cynthia Garner
Cynthia Garner discovered her love for making up stories at the age of twelve when her teacher told her to write a story that started "It was a dark and stormy night…" But she didn't think about making it a profession until 2005, when she began entering and winning writing contests. Under her alternate ego Sherrill Quinn she has three Kensington Brava paranormal romance books and a novella as part of the Belong to the Night anthology, as well as several erotic romance novellas published electronically with Ellora's Cave and Amber Heat. When she's not working her day job, you'll find her at her laptop writing. Or watching too much TV.

Cynthia Garner Website
ISFDB Bibliography

A review by Sandra Scholes

Kiss of the Vampire is the first novel in the Warriors of the Rift series that concerns a potential serial killer on the streets, but as the murders are not the usual ones, the victims all being vampires, and Nix de la Fuente is investigating them. Who could be the killer? It does help that she is no ordinary investigator. Half-human, half-demon, she is a complex woman, especially when she is around a certain person.

Due to the case being so puzzling for the officers on it, another investigator is brought in to work on the case alongside the others, Tobias Caine, who is a special agent, and one who Nix knows only too well.

From the start Tobias Caine had not intended to feel any emotions for his former lover, but once he catches sight of her, he can't keep away from her, let alone erase any thought of her. Nix and Tobias have a history together, their relationship not being one that he would normally want to go back to, yet Nix is the one he fell in love with so easily and completely. He needs her once she is near, and in turn she feels the same. As the half-human, she has to keep the control of her inner demon side, as it can try to take over her personality. Tobias gets her pulse racing, just as it will for the reader. It is her human side that renders her susceptible to his charms. Her demon side, if it were fully developed could have resisted him, but that is another story.

Nix and Tobias have no idea who could have killed their victims, but there are theories going around that it could be humans, or whoever it is plays at being a human. They speculate that the killer is not a demon, as Nix being half-demon herself would know in an instant if that were true.

Every writer has their own ideas about the setting they put their characters in, hoping to make them different, and a whole lot can happen to vampires when the setting is open and risky as in here where the half-demon is an investigator and the special agent is a vampire. Dante, who works with Tobias discovers what happens to him if he goes out in daylight -- nothing. In this novel, only newly turned vampires have a serious problem going out in daylight hours, while vampires who have been so for twenty years or more are alright as they have got used to it -- sometimes sunglasses help though.

The reader can really see where Cynthia Garner got her inspiration from with this novel. Her young life spent watching Hammer Horror movies with stars like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing playing Dracula and Van Helsing. This helped her when she was creating her paranormal romance novel ideas as she wanted to create an anti-hero who was dark, rugged and exuded a sense of power. She intentionally puts two people together who are trying to have a professional relationship at work, yet it can hardly work at times, not when the sight of each other fires them up. Plus they have so much history together it is hard for them to concentrate on the case.

All the way through the novel, Nix tries to prove she can be trustworthy to the humans. She is not proud of her half-demon side and hopes to make the humans around her see the human side of her more, but due to the rift between the paranormal world and the human world, she might find out how little the humans think of her.

Dante finds it unusual to see Nix working as an investigator and she gives him the reason. While she is on cases, if she lets the demon side come out a bit, she has heightened senses of smell, taste, touch, and it can lead them to the perpetrators faster than ordinary means of detection. In the story Nix has a lot of pent up anger about her past, what her mother did to her father, and all the prejudice that comes with being from a demon family that are described as succubii. As Dante wanted to know so much about her, readers might get the impression that after what she told him he would not ask her again.

Garner gathers all the preternatural creatures around her, and unlike in the Hammer movies, vampires, werewolves and demons can go freely among the humans, even if they are still not accepted among the human circles. Her setting is realistic, as are her characters, their intense emotions and the situations they are put into -- it makes for a thrilling and exciting read. Just remember to keep the light on.

Copyright © 2012 Sandra Scholes

Sandra has a great interest in the vampire genre, Love Vampires being one she writes for, but the others are just as much fun in the other genres; Love Romance Passion (self explanatory), Fantasy Book Review (well, yet again…), and Active Anime (I love anime..)

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