The Accidental Vampire
by Lynsay Sands, paranormal (2008)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-122968-8

There is a very good idea, or a most interesting concept, if you will, behind the latest addition to Lynsay Sands' Argeneau clan series. Unfortunately, while this is most likely the most unusual vampire romance I may come across in a while, the author doesn't seem to know how to deal with her most interesting premise. As a result, this book is stuck in a rut where nothing happens, the conflict turns out to be something trivial, and the romance is as deep as a puddle. In other words, this book is dreadfully dull indeed.

Ellen Stone is in an unusual position for a vampire. Stuck in a small Canadian town of Port Henry, she has no idea how she ended up being a vampire or how she should live as one. She was 62 the day when the accident struck while she was on a trip to Mexico with her best friend Mabel. When she came to consciousness, she nearly killed Mabel in a fit of bloodlust and, oh my, she looked like a hot babe again. What happened? At any rate, she and Mabel decided since then that she should live like Count Dracula did in those movies. Which is to say, she avoided sunlight and churches, she doesn't eat, and she sleeps in a coffin filled with native soil.

Imagine her surprise and embarrassment when, in her fifth year as a vampire, she finally encounters other vampires and realizes that she can eat, she can move around in sunlight provided she has put on adequate sunscreen first, she can sleep on a bed as easily as a coffin, and she can walk into a church without being struck down by lightning or divine righteousness. What happens is that the folks of Port Henry, all of them knowing fully well that Ellen is a vampire, are worried that she would be all alone when they inevitably pass away, so they try to look around for any available vampire male to hook up with Ellen. Mabel finally hits on an idea of a personal ad in the Toronto Star, and this is how our vampire enforcer hero Victor Argeneau realizes the existence of a vampire in Port Henry and decides to pay her a visit along with his friend Dieudonne Jules "DJ" Benoit.

Ellen is now "Elvi Black" - Elvi after Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, of course - and she plays the role of a caricature Goth vampire type to attract folks to her inn. She is not amused when she learns that Mabel's ad has lured five vampire males hoping to discover whether she is their lifemate, but with Victor, not only is she learning the ropes of being a vampire, she is also getting to learn first hand what it's like to be a vampire in love.

The idea behind this story is a very interesting and even brilliant one, in my opinion, and indeed, the first half or so of this book is very fun to read as Elvi learns with surprise and later elation that she can actually eat all those chocolates and cakes that she has missed dearly all this while. Ms Sands manages to convey very well Elvi's joy of finally rediscovering the things that Elvi had once taken for granted and now missed so dearly, like eating and sleeping on a bed. If Victor is rather bland, Elvi's elation at rediscovering the joys of life's most simple pleasures is most infectious. I also like how Elvi, at 62, has experienced loves and losses, which makes her a more mature heroine and therefore a nice change from all those try-too-hard sarcastic heroines in humorous paranormal chick-lit stories out there.

Unfortunately, as the story just goes on and on, it becomes apparent that Ms Sands doesn't have any good idea on how to keep things interesting. Someone is trying to kill Elvi, Victor, or maybe the two of them, but nobody here seems to be even a little worried that the fellow has struck at Evie more than once so I'm not sure how I am supposed to take that aspect of the story seriously. The romance is ridiculously tepid. Victor can't read Elvi's mind so she's his lifemate, he's hot for her, they have sex, and that is all there is to the grand romance. Likewise, the subplot between Mabel and DJ could have been interesting, especially given that Mabel is in her sixties and looks her age, but the author once again takes the easy way out for herself by making DJ unable to read Mabel's mind (this is the sign of True Love Forever, so believe it, bitches!) and have the two characters have non-stop sex faster than I can blink. As much as I'm all for mature women having the time of their lives with hot studs, DJ and Mabel have a relationship that is as deep as a puddle.

Indeed, the second half is all about information dumping on Ms Sands' vampire canon and tedious accounts of the day to day antics of Victor, Elvi, and their buddies. There is little build-up to anything, and what little suspense there may be is finally resolved in a most anticlimatic manner when the Argeneau fellows from previous books show up to close ranks around Victor and Elvi. Even the mystery of Elvi's "conception" peters out into a most disappointing "Huh, so that is it?" revelation. Nothing that I find remotely interesting happens in the second half and the information dumping bores me because it's a rehash of the same vampire canon that shows up in every one of the author's previous books in the series.

The Accidental Vampire therefore has a very interesting idea behind it, but Ms Sands doesn't really do anything to make the idea come to life. There are some interesting moments in the first half when the novelty of this unusual premise is still fresh, but once the novelty wears off in the second half, I am bored out of my mind when I realize that nothing is really happening in the story. File this one under "Good idea but dreadfully lifeless execution".

Rating: 73

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