by Kerrelyn Sparks, fantasy (2009)
Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0061667854
Secret Life Of A Vampire is not as ridiculously farcical as Kerrelyn Sparks' previous books, so to me, that is a good thing as I'm not a big fan of stupid people in general. This one can stand alone very well without being too cluttered with recurring characters, and it's funny, which is always good. However, the author doesn't succeed in maintaining the momentum she has created throughout the story.
Lara Boucher is just three months out of the police academy when she stumbles upon a perplexing case. When she is called to put a halt to the guests in a hotel behaving in a too rowdy manner, she finds something really odd about one of the guests, Giacomo "Jack" Casanova. He seems to be able to silently command her partner to walk away from the hotel suite, for example, and not only that, when Lara questions the other folks in the hotel, they seem to have no recollection of Jack and his guests at all. It is only when she fails to use her gun during a subsequent scene of domestic abuse that she happens to call Jack (she has his number because he's a hussy that way) and he shows up almost immediately to kick some butt and do his mind-wipe woo-woo thing. Who... what is Jack?
Of course, we readers know that Jack is part of the super-hot vampires of Brooklyn and more, which are the good guys because they drink artificial blood (the bad guys, the Malcontents, drink human blood). Jack can't tell Lara what he is, of course, and he also feels that he doesn't want to get involved with a woman who will reject him for being a vampire. That doesn't stop him from speaking like Pepé Le Pew, though. As for Lara, she's funny and sometimes she's smart while at other times she's hopeless. Sometimes she thinks carefully and comes up with reasonable conclusions, at other times she can't shoot a bad guy even if she's trained to shoot and she also blabs about the details of her cases to her good friend. Ms Sparks isn't above making Lara a dumb bunny if that will further the plot, in other words.
I have fun reading this story at first because it's amusing. I especially love this exchange between Lara and LaToya, her best friend, about Jack's possible true nature.
"Does he spell his name with an apostrophe? Like J'Ack instead of... Jack?"
"Why would he do that? It sounds exactly the same."
"All the aliens do it. It's part of their code."
I can never warm up to Jack because seriously, he reminds me way too much of Pepé Le Pew when he speaks and flirts. Still, it is most entertaining to follow Lara as she tries to figure out what Jack is. Lara is sometimes very innovative, and it's delightful to see her occasionally turn the tables on Jack.
However, it isn't long before Jack reveals to her what he is, and that's when the story begins to falter. The subplot about the missing women in the neighborhood is just not interesting because the suspense isn't there. After all, Jack has his troop of past and future sequel baits on the job, so it's a given that the poor villain is going to be humiliated at the end of the day. The romance between Jack and Lara as well as their familiar emotional issues are not compelling enough to make up for the cessation of the cat and mouse game between those two. Still, if you don't think too hard and don't mind the fact that Lara seems more like a twit than a trained cop, this part of the story can still provide plenty of guffaws.
Secret Life Of A Vampire has its charms, but I wish the author has maintained the initial momentum of the story throughout the entire tale.
This book at Amazon.com
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