Title: Blood Howl (Sanguis Noctis #1)
Author: Robin Saxon and Alex Kidwell
Cover Art: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Blood Howl
Genre: M/M Romance/ Fantasy/paranormal
Length: Novel/210 pages
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Die Hard-esque action with kicks, giggles and an atypical tender love story.
Blurb: Gun for hire Jed Walker doesn’t figure it for a difficult job—a simple smash and grab retrieval—except his new client doesn’t want money or goods. He wants shy, gorgeous Redford Reed, a man who turns Jed’s world upside down inside a day. He is in no way prepared to fall hard and fast for his newest assignment.
Redford Reed lives his life locked in his grandmother’s house, haunted by a terrible curse and watching the world pass him by until Jed shows up, sent by a man who will stop at nothing to claim Redford as his own. Teaming up with Jed is Redford’s only chance at survival, but as the violence escalates, so does the tension between them. Even though they each finally have something to live for, now it’s going to take all Jed’s skill and every bit of courage Redford has just to stay alive.
Sanguis Noctis Book One
This book reads a lot like an action movie, but instead of sending, in the words of Warren Zevon, lawyers, guns and money to get them out of this, there are more interesting ramifications in this fast paced, suspend your disbelief and go for it adventure. The gun-loving mercenary Jed is a great character, a cocky, mixed-up guy with a taste for hard hit-and-run submissive sex, but also an unexpectedly soft heart. His self-awareness is somewhat less developed than his fighting skills. His attitude to Redford reminded me of a less psychotic Spike in his denial ‘no way do I care about Buffy’ stage of his incarnation……all defensive quips and backing away.
So Jed would just his best to shake off the bad guys, do the whole Bond routine, and ride off into the sunset.
The story’s viewpoint is shared between Jed and Redford. It is through the clear “doe-eyes” of the painfully vulnerable, socially-undeveloped Redford that Jed is revealed as not only heroic, fun but also very loving:
Redford could almost hear the grin in Jed’s voice, the slow one that spread like honey over hot toast.
The growing tenderness between the two is a completely appealing counterpoint to the big bang violence of the action.
There is some very pleasing humour in the book; Redford’s oblivious innocence is used to good effect, sharp funny dialogue, a Siamese cat with attitude and in accordance with the film-like quality, amusing visual set pieces. It is a nice mix of kicks and giggles.
Jed’s information guru David and his friend Victor or “snack” in Jed’s words, are an attractive supporting cast. They add another enigmatic layer of fantasy to the story. The paranormal element is a big surprise to Jed and is not overly expanded in the book. The bad guy being the most obvious manifestation of it.
Unfortunately I found Filtiarn an unusually inept villain. He won’t even tell Jed what it is he wants him to steal…if the thing he was smashing and grabbing was bigger or smaller than a goddamn breadbox. It is this ill-planned request that gets the action going by involving Jed. However as the not so big, bad points out himself eventually — it was an absurdly premature move. Most of what he does do seems oddly unnecessary, except to provide a violent threat to our guys. So the plot is on the far side on the believable and moving towards simply silly.
This aside, I really enjoyed the whole fun experience. It shared a lot of the qualities of any summer big box office film — an over-the-top action hero who knows how to make one hell of an entrance, visual excitements, blood and violence. What I have rarely found in any such blockbuster offering was any real emotional bond between the love interest. In Blood Howl, while Redford explores love and his first taste of sexual heat, Jed discovers trust and kind tenderness; the resulting combination is very satisfying.