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21 March 2009 @ 01:44 am
Review: Blood Vice by Keith Melton  
A lot of the popular urban fantasy novels are already being reviewed in this community, so I thought I'd mix things up and give my thoughts on some books published by small presses. I really believe in supporting e-publishers, so if the books appeal to you, please pick them up!

Blood Vice by Keith Melton
Series: The Nightfall Syndicate, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Action
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60504-388-3
Format: e-book, paperback in Dec 2009/Jan 2010

Samhain Publishing
Keith Melton

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10
Originality: Not much is new, but it's still a good read. I really liked the cross between vampires and the mafia.
Concept: Vampires and other magical beings exist alongside unknowing humans, and they're kept in check by the Order of the Thorn, a group of holy knights (all humans) who execute vampires that prey on innocents. Karl did a job for the Order in the past and he is allowed to live, provided he feed only on the corrupt and the criminals.

When a human is turned into a vampire, the newly-turned vampire is a slave to the master that turned him. The master can control his every action, and the master-slave relationship continues until the master is slain.
Romance: Some, but it's not the focus. The romance in here is driven by external conflict (Maria gets captured), instead of internal (Karl and Maria are pretty secure in their feelings for each other).
Summary & Review: I don't know how to go about summarizing this, so I'll just quote the publisher's summary here.

"Business has never been better for hit man Karl Vance. Boston is awash in mafia blood, and Vance has a certain fondness for blood. He’s a master vampire—one of the most powerful of his kind. Having sworn to never again feed on the blood of innocents, Karl preys instead on Boston’s criminal underworld. Which makes him a valuable asset to those who deal in death.

Maria Ricardi intends to use that asset to its full extent in order to gain power within her patriarchal crime family. Vance thinks he’s been hired to keep track of the family’s princess, but she’s got a plan to get her hands dirty and earn the respect she deserves. And she’s not above using their instant attraction to get what she wants.

That driving ambition draws the attention of a rival clan’s newest and most dangerous “consultant.” Alejandro Delgado, Vance’s centuries-old nemesis. Delgado zeroes in on the one chink in Vance’s armor—his fondness for the headstrong Maria.

When she becomes enslaved by Delgado’s unnatural kiss, only one thing is certain. Vance has to decide which he wants more. To settle the score—or rescue her soul.

Warning: Intense, graphic mafia-related violence, profanity, gangster slang, assassinations, fang punctures, explicit vampire sex, betrayal, greed, murder, gangland warfare, pervasive supernatural mayhem, large-scale explosions, and extremely expensive Italian suits."

I read this book some weeks ago, so nothing's really fresh in my mind. I've been wracking my head trying to figure out why I love this book and I think it's because I just really like the Karl and Maria.
Karl is a vampire with morals, but he slips sometimes. Unlike a lot of the vampires, he still retains his humanity. He's clever and compassionate, and that's what I like about him. All his actions are well thought out and he makes smart decisions, most of the time, but sometimes he makes selfish choices, especially in regards to Maria. He has it really rough. Nobody's on his side (except for his bodyguard). I'm going to add that I'm also really relieved he's not some super macho guy who's full of himself.
Maria kinda creeped me out at first, with her desire to watch people die... But she's such a real character and so easy to relate to. Maria has a good head on her shoulders, and unlike the heroines in a lot of recent books I've read who just go charging off with half-cooked plans, Maria knows her limits, and she tries not to do stupid things. She knows when to trust others to come through for her, and she doesn't try to do everything herself. I just have to admire that aspect of her because it's so rare.

It's vampires and the mafia (and also a group of holy knights), so there are turf wars and politics going on, but they're like the spice to the action. This book was really fun to read and time just flew by for me. I cannot wait for the next book. I'm so disappointed that there's no release date for it.
(Deleted comment)
rbm00: Bohra vinesrbm00 on March 21st, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
Keith Melton is awesome. If this is his debut book, I can't wait to see what he does in the future. It feels great to discover a new author to follow!
Sanguine Pensanguinepen on March 21st, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reviewing this book. I've been thinking about giving it a read myself.
rbm00: Bohra vinesrbm00 on March 21st, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, you should really give it a try! I was kinda hesitant going into it because this is the author's debut novel. I usually prefer reading an author's later works as opposed to earlier ones. I expected this first book to be mediocre but it was better than I thought it would be. It's too bad his website is empty and there are no mentions of release dates or any progress on the sequel.
keithmeltonkeithmelton on March 22nd, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
Hi rbm00,
The sequel is progressing well, thanks for the interest. I'm far into Act II of the plot arc. If you enjoyed this one, I think you'll enjoy the next one, as the bestiary is greatly expanded, the locales are exotic, and the stakes are just as high.

I have a novella coming out with Samhain in August 2009 called Run, Wolf. It's about Leah, a werewolf exiled from her pack for Turning her lover without clan approval, now hunted by a vicious subgroup of betas who want them both dead.

All right, enough shameless self promotion. ^_^
keithmeltonkeithmelton on March 22nd, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
I’m extremely glad you enjoyed Blood Vice. Thanks for taking the time to give it a read!

As for the website… it should have much more content in the next few months, including a lot of background information on the Blood Vice world and forthcoming books.

And good to see you Bree (aka the Bree half of Moira Rogers)! I loved Crux. ^_^