For some time, Michael has suspected that Wild Bill’s done more than just dabble in art. As with every other piece of his personal history, Bill plays his cards close to his chest. But when he lets on that a mural he painted before his change might still exist, Michael’s dying to see it — and Bill’s never been good at saying no.
Only fragments of the building remain, but it’s possible Wild Bill’s painting is still there. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more in the ruins than Bill and Michael bargained for.
When Michael is having a new tat done he realizes (as Melba the old vamp crone/tattoo artist is shaving the area with a straight razor, with Bill looking on,) that his hottest kink is a combination of blood, pain and vamp and he’s getting it in spades. He has a temporary job at the local veterinary clinic and it would have been a good gig to make a few extra dollars except for one thing. Lance, a bully who works there, gets his kicks from grossing out Michael with blood and gore. At times Swarm is like a horror movie, with blood everywhere, as Lance uses his best tricks on his prey, some of which could be entertaining if you’re into blood. After their last encounter Michael leaves the job, and he and Bill hit the road looking for new pastures.
This book is quite different in a number of ways from the others. First, it’s told from Michael’s POV. Second, it’s also more revealing in terms of Wild Bill’s past. Bill doesn’t talk much about his life but Michael discovers that he used to be something of an artist before he was turned, and they decide to go in search of a mural that Bill had painted all those years ago, which is when they ran into a whole lot of trouble from an unexpected source. It looks like this time their luck has run out and they won’t escape injury, or worse.
There’s a lot of action in Swarm but in some ways the book didn’t achieve the high intensity of the previous stories in the series and the plot was not as complex, but it made up for this in the relationship between the vamp and his human lover. What we don’t know is: How human is Michael? The action between the vamps and humans in the book is scary and some incidents require a strong stomach. One of the toughest characters in Swarm was Silk, a female vamp, a genius with tattoos who could scare anyone with just a look; Melba, another vamp tattoo artist, was almost as scary. What is it about these female tattoo artists?
This book seems to have redefined certain aspects of Michael’s and Bill’s bond. The sex, as usual, was incredibly passionate, wild and mindblowing hot, but in some ways perhaps the intensity was different – softer. These two characters are so well drawn that I felt as if I knew them, but I was never going to invite them into my living room! I love the way the author builds the scenes, increases the tension, then lets the readers see the vulnerabilities of the characters as they struggle with their emotions and different needs. The humour is off the scale and the dialogue between Michael and Bill is very funny and sometimes sweet, especially during sex. I love JCP’s other series but Sweet Oblivion doesn’t take second place to anything that she has written to date. What makes this series so memorable is the love between Michael and Wild Bill, although Bill would probably call it something else.
Swarm chilled my blood a few times and in the end Michael recognized what his place was in the world of vamps, and it was not pretty. Definitely recommended.