4.5 stars. Intriguing and intelligent romantic police drama with a paranormal twist. There is a series of murders of gay 'vees' in London and the detectives of the London Police Murder Investigation Team are hot on the case.
The only thing Nick Guthrie loves is his job with the Murder Investigation Team. He nearly died several years earlier from a brain tumor but was cured by a controversial viral treatment that left him with strange 'vampire-like' side effects. Nick is having trouble coming to terms with his new life and his experiences with family and past relationships have made him withdraw from everyone around him.
Dr Anton Marber is a scientist who Nick saved from a gay bashing one night. He is a bit of a celebrity, kind of the David Attenborough of gay animal behaviour. He is very taken by the handsome and capable detective who saves his life and is determined to get past Nick's walls and into his affections.
There is so much I liked about this novel. Firstly it's very well written. The romance and mystery are subtle yet fascinating. It reminded me a little of Josh Lanyon's work. There is time spent on what the investigating team do to try and capture the killer. Anton is gorgeous in his stubborn persistence to gain Nick's affections and Nick's vulnerable self-isolation and dogged pursuit of the killer are admirable. I was really attracted to both these characters.
When I wrote 'paranormal twist' that is misleading. There are no supernatural 'abilities' involved in being a 'vee'. There is just the inability to eat/drink anything except blood and the emergence of enlarged canines which 'vees' usually have capped. The concept is approached more as a chronic illness that 'vees' have to learn to live with.
The only problem I had with the book was the ending. It was too rushed and anti-climactic, both in terms of the mystery and the romance. I wasn't overly keen on the identity of the bad guy and there was no big confrontation at the end. Don't worry romance fans there is a HEA. But for the first time in a romance novel I would have preferred a HFN ending. There are still TOO MANY unresolved issues with Nick and Anton's relationship for the usual 'I Love You's' at the end. And not just unresolved issues but huge opportunities for a series of books with these two characters.
Anton's job and frequent absences, Nick's family and his reporter ex (Harry), the implied preference for 'vees' to drink fresh blood, and of course Nick's detective work could give rise to lots more interesting stories. I guess I'm just a bit cheesed off that this book seems to be a standalone. I loved it and I. Want. More! Recommended for fans of M/M mystery romance and of course fans of Ann Somerville.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)