Sunday, October 21, 2007

Once Bitten, Twice Shy – review

Author: Jennifer Rardin

First Published: 2007 (UK)

Contains spoilers

This is another first person supernatural cornucopia novel, featuring vampires, but with a twist. The central character is Jaz Parks. Jaz works for the CIA but, more directly, she works for Vayl, one of the CIA’s top assassins and a vampire.

In this volume we see Jaz and Vayl in Miami on the trail of a top member of the Sons of Paradise – a terrorist group whose aim seems to be to spread as much chaos as possible. Jaz has her own secrets, however. Previously she had been a Hellsinger, a group of dedicated vampire hunters, until her unit was wiped out. Jaz cannot remember much of the event but it has left her a sensitive and she can smell out vampires, she also suffers from black outs.

In the course of events, due to a traitor within the CIA, Vayl’s blood supply is tainted and he is forced to feed on a willing Jaz – an event that increases her sensitivity, taking her to another level.

We find a little out about the vampires. They must feed on blood, a bolt through the heart kills them, they avoid the sun. We know that some can turn to mist, that some have the ability to kill from a distance after one taste of blood and that Vayl is a wraith, meaning he can freeze a man to death with a touch.

To be honest we find out a lot more about Jaz, with her being the central character. Rardin builds this supernatural world around us without explanation as to how or why it is there, it just is. This seems to work and is a breath of fresh air next to the convoluted reasons sometimes built into these types of books as to why the supernatural is just so prevalent.

The twist, of course, is using the CIA as a back drop, so we get an unusual mixture of ghosts and gadgets, most of which are supplied by Bergman – a man so paranoid he works freelance rather than be a part of the CIA.

A fun little romp, worth having a read through, the series should build into something worthwhile and I am looking forward to learning more about the vampires in further books. The writing is tight enough and Jaz is a good voice for the naration, with a promise of dark secrets - that just didn't seem that dark as they began to emerge. This is, despite the twist, just another one of the innumerate cornucopia books that seem to be flooding the market at the moment, however. 6.5 out of 10.

No comments: