Blood Bath & Beyond: An Immortality Bites Mystery
by Michelle Rowen
Review by Harriet Klausner
Signet Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451237644
Date: 07 August 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
On a date in Toronto, Sarah was bitten by a vampire and turned into one, seven months ago. Unable to deal psychologically with what she had become, she was fortunate to meet Master Vampire Thierry de Bennicoeur who is slightly older than her parents by almost six centuries. He had been was considering suicide to end his ennui. Sarah Dearly has brought back the Úlan to his previously tedious life as he feels a compulsive need to mentor and protect the fledgling. She is soon wearing his engagement ring.
Thierry agrees to act as a consultant to the Ring whose mission is to prevent vampires from exposing their species to the humans. He wants Sarah to remain in Toronto where she would be safe, but she refuses to leave him. They travel to Las Vegas in search of a serial killing vampire. While in Sin City, they also have to deal with Victoria, a century old vampire, who looks like an elementary school kid competing in a beauty pageant.
Thierry has had public disputes with Bernard who he threatens to kill if he fails to turn over certain items he has that could harm their species and humans as well. When someone murders Bernard, Thierry is the only suspect.
The Ring Enforcer Markus places Thierry under house arrest while he seeks proof as to who murdered Bernard as all the evidence points to Thierry. Sarah begins an inquiry, but finds nothing of importance so she breaks her lover out of his luxurious prison; making both of them fugitives from the Ring.
This is the start of a new Immortality Bites urban fantasy series with a darker suspense thriller bite than the original Dearly-Thierry chick lit tales (see Stakes & Stilettos). The heroine is a strong modern day Canadian who may be a newborn vamp but she retains her independence, which is a two edged stake for the hero; as he is bitten and smitten by her feistiness but fears for her life. He also is amazed that someone as vibrant and fabulous as Sarah loves a geriatric old fanged one like him. She risks her undead novice existence to assist him on his new job and when he gets in trouble with the vampire law goes solo before busting him out. He hungers to keep her safe while she needs to have his back. Their pairing is refreshing.
This paranormal mystery is a well written amateur sleuth (when the heroine sleuths by herself) that turns professional (when her ancient lover joins her). The three super subplots focus on the interactions by the lead protagonists with other paranormals. Having plenty of action and angst makes the Rowen mythos seems real as readers will believe in vampires and slayers.
Filled with romance and high stakes suspense, fans will appreciate the return of Sarah Dearly and Thierry de Bennicoeur in an exciting dark whodunit.