A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: Fun and lively start to spirit possession romance with interesting alphabetic agency action.
Blurb: Unregistered paranormal Caleb Jansen only wants a normal life. But when a demon murders his brother, Caleb knows he has to avenge Ben’s death, no matter what the cost. Unfortunately, his only allies belong to an extremist group who would kill Caleb if they found out about his talent.
Gray is a wandering spirit, summoned to hunt and destroy demons by drinking their blood. This hunt goes horribly wrong, and for the first time in his existence Gray is trapped in a living, human body. Caleb’s body…and Caleb is still in it.
Hotshot federal agent John Starkweather thinks he’s seen it all. But when he’s called to exorcise Caleb, he finds a creature which isn’t supposed to exist outside of stories. For Gray is a drakul: a vampire.
Having spent his life avoiding the government as an unregistered ‘mal, Caleb can’t let himself trust a federal exorcist, no matter how sexy. And he certainly isn’t going to give into the heat growing between them and sleep with Starkweather.
Can Starkweather win Caleb’s trust and convince him he isn’t the enemy? Can Caleb keep Gray under control, as the drakul experiences the temptation of a living body for the first time?
Because if he fails and Gray gives in to bloodlust, Starkweather will have no choice but to kill them both.
This was an entertaining start to a new series, perhaps a little lighter in general atmosphere than the author’s longer works. Having said that, it does deal with a dramatic variety of paranormal goings on; dead body theft, ghouls, and various demonic manifestations. This is a familiar world, but appears as a post paranormal revelation society, with such unsurprising social interactions as registration of paranormal ability and virulent anti ‘ mal ‘ groups. ‘Spectr’ is the federal organisation tasked with policing people with different powers. It displays all the usual agency office politics.
While the romantic relationship concentrates on the opposites attract stuff between Caleb, an unregistered paranormal with a negligible ability, and the confident exorcising agent John Starkweather, it is the third element in the formula I was most fascinated with. Gray is a disembodied demon hunting spirit…. in Buffy terms could almost actually be termed as a ‘rogue demon hunter’. He is also described as a drakul, a vampire. His whole existence is unexpected from Spectr’s knowledge base. Gray being trapped in Caleb’s body with him still in residence as well, is the set up that gives the book a great kick. Caleb has quite a nice line in stroppy thoughts which adds to the lively feel of the book. Gray’s possession or body sharing affects Caleb’s abilities,
Great another change to his eyes. Seeing in the dark would have seemed really cool before, now it just felt ominous.
” The night is best for hunting. The mortals cower inside and do not see. There is less chance of interference.”
Not helping with the ominous, he muttered.
I enjoyed Caleb’s growing relationship with both of the main characters. Gray appears to be on as steep a learning curve as Caleb with the whole interesting business of body sharing………
There is enough depth to the characterisation of the characters that they escape being the generic strong agent rescuer and the screaming ingenue victim they could easily have been. However there is a generally light feel to this book, which was a benefit for me as it was more or less a stress free read.
This was a fast paced story with some good actions interludes; it seemed like an episode in a good, ‘ let’s watch it every week and buy the box set’ TV series. There is so much room for the development of fun here. There is hopefully the quiet suggestion of some possible sexual pluralism. I’m genuinely hooked and really looking forward to the next instalment, ” Master of Ghouls” which is coming in April and the third book, ” Reaper of Souls ” is down for July. The time scale is fair enough that my impatience is mollified.