Tuesday, February 18, 2020

ARC Review: How to Vex a Vampire (VRC: Vampire Related Crimes #1) by Alice Winters

How to Vex a Vampire (VRC: Vampire Related Crimes, #1)
Getting into the vampire-only detective unit was the easy part; what’s going to be more difficult is dealing with my new partner, an ancient vampire who keeps threatening to eat me. The unit has never had a human in it, and Marcus—or as I like to call him, Fangy McFangface—would really prefer to keep it that way. He’s grumpy, short-tempered, and broody, but I have a way with words and I know he’s starting to like me, even if he swears he’s not. But what he doesn’t know is that I didn’t join the unit because I was tired of being a homicide detective, I joined because there is someone after me. They’ve already taken enough from me and I’m afraid they’re going to take all of me if I don’t find someone to help. That’s all Marcus was supposed to be, but now, he’s so much more and I can’t imagine my life without him.

The moment the pesky human walked through that door, I knew I had to get rid of him. He’s charming and almost everyone else instantly loves him, but he doesn’t understand how risky it is being part of this unit as a human. But as I get to know the stubborn man, I learn that perhaps he’s not as naive as I once thought. And maybe he’s what I needed to realize there is more to life than just work and my dog. A group arises who is threatening to disrupt the alliance between the humans and the vampires, but Finn is the one who shows me how strong that alliance can be and reminds me why it’s worth protecting. When threats hit closer to home, I realize I would do anything for Finn because he’s brought so much joy to my life—and because he’s mine.

This 105k word book contains: A creative use for undergarments, unintentional splits, a wolfhound who just wants to be a part of things, a vertically challenged human who still manages to wrap every vampire he meets around his little finger, the best date ever, possessiveness, really awkward dancing, some workplace revenge, and just a bite or two. Or three.

Todd's rating:

This story was tons of fun, so if you were a fan of the snark and banter in Alice's "The Hitman's Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love", I strongly suspect that this story would be a hit for you, too, as the feel of the two were fairly similar.

What was different, however, was that this new series introduces a paranormal element into the Good Guys Chasing Bad Guys scenario. Specifically, vampires, which coexist "mostly" peacefully alongside humans in this universe.

Another theme used in this book, similar to her "In Darkness" series, was that of the Wounded Hero. In Darkness, the MC had been purposefully blinded, but here Finn, a human police detective, had lost an arm and a leg in an incident over a decade ago.

However, Finn never allowed anyone to treat him differently, going to far as to hide the fact that he even used high-tech prosthetics, when at all possible. Being treated like glass was the one thing Finn wouldn't abide.

Then we had Marcus, a well-respected, extremely gruff, no-nonsense vampire police detective, who never stood a chance against Finn's sass and "all nonsense" approach to every single thing that crossed his path.

In regards to personality and feel, I don't think I'd be far off-base to say that Finn was a Leland (from Hitman) and Marcus was a Lane (from Darkness).

Other than the MC's initially mixing about as well as oil and water, the main conflict in the book surrounded a group of bad guys who were actively attempting to break the fragile peace between humans and vampires.

And since this was a romance, as the irreverent Finn and the staunch Marcus worked their way through one deadly situation after another, Finn's persistent flirting finally, blessedly began to get past Marcus' previously-impenetrable shields, which was so much fun to witness.

But the mouth on Finn? Sweet baby Jesus. The guy wasn't right.
Finn gives me that cutesy smile while dragging a man twice his size along with him. “I’m so glad you’re here!”

“I was just… coming to save you.”

“Oh, thanks, but I saved myself and everyone else. If I’d have known you were coming to save me, I would have waited. It sounds sexy to be saved by you. Do you want me to go back inside?”
I found the humor to be "mostly" spot on, but for those bothered by OTT banter, this story was... a LOT. As in the verbal sparring wasn't back and forth, then done. It tended to go on longer than some will probably like, so just a warning there.

This one had tons and tons of action and suspense, with manageable angst, and some sexy times, but the main focus was definitely on stopping the bad guys and their relationship.

I did like where this book ended, but there was a secondary threat to Finn, a dangerous, ancient vampire stalker, that was left unresolved, which I strongly suspect that book 2 of the series will deal with.

And I cannot wait! : )

4.25 stars.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.


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