Friday, July 02, 2010

Samson’s Lovely Mortal – review

Author: Tina Folsom

First published: 2010

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Vampire bachelor Samson is having problems in the bedroom. Not even his shrink can help him. That changes when the lovely mortal auditor Delilah tumbles into his arms after a seemingly random attack. Suddenly there’s nothing wrong with his hydraulics – that is, as long as Delilah is the woman in his arms.

His scruples about taking Delilah to his bed vanish when his shrink suggests it’s the only way to cure his problem. Thinking all he needs is one night with her, Samson indulges in a night of pleasure and passion.

However, another attack on Delilah and a dead body later, Samson has his arms full: not only with trying to hide the fact he’s a vampire, but also with finding out what secrets Delilah harbors for somebody to want her harm.

The Review: When Tina Folsom contacted me and asked me to review her book I must admit that I thought that she was rather brave. After all, I am not known for my love of vampire romance (as a sub-genre). Romance has its place within a book but not, generally, as the main thrust (as it were) and I am loving the backlash within the genre that is returning brutality and horror to the vampire.

All things, however, should be on their own merits and, of course, the first page, even the first line, of a book can be vitally important. The first impression that should stay with you through the reading process and beyond. I wasn’t expecting the first line to read “Let me suck your cock,” but honestly, that’ll stay with me. Not that I am a prude and Folsom’s book is peppered with erotic scenes that are, I have to admit, very well written.

Erotica does not – in the main – a book make. I like a steamy bit of writing as much as the next person (and have written some fairly explicit scenes myself) but, for a novel to be well rounded it does have to have a story. The main thrust of Samson’s Lovely Mortal is the romance and the story is centred on that. There is some peril based around crime and corporate fraud and, though this part of the story is a little thin, it is there and it is entertaining. It is a shame that this wasn't more of the book's main focus as I actually really enjoyed Folsom’s writing style. It was bubbly and quick paced. There was humour, some of it knowing when you look at Samson and Delilah and the fact that the characters make light-hearted comment on that combination, and I actually felt that her style was well suited to Urban Fantasy.

This is why I said a shame as, whilst the book is a fine example of romance (with an erotic twist), it could equally have been developed into a strong Urban Fantasy novel. I would urge the author to consider writing something more in that direction in the future.

What if’s aside, I do not want to detract from a well written romance – and though for myself, and for many who read this blog, romance is not going to be the first port of call as a sub-genre I would say if you were going to dip your toe in that sub-genre than this is as good a place as any.

Looking at the book as a part of the wider vampire genre the lore was fairly standard. No sunlight, no reflection, super strong. Interestingly the vampires were infertile generally and if mating for (virtually eternal) life they would blood-bond. If the blood-bond was with a mortal the mortal would gain the vampire’s longevity (though not the blood-thirst etc) and also those two could breed – creating hybrids that had all the strengths and none of the weaknesses. The way to kill a vampire was fairly genre standard also, stake to the heart, sunlight, major injury leading to major blood loss and fire.

Prose wise there were just a couple of typos, but clearly they were refugees of the editing process and nothing too major – it would be remiss, however, not to mention them – and this was a well written, wonderfully saucy piece of prose. 6 out of 10, though fans of paranormal romance may want to add a couple of points to the score.

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