Signet Eclipse, $6.99, ISBN 0-451-21809-4
This is the second book in Susannah Russe’s The Darkwing Chronicles. Beyond the Pale started the whole series and you should read that review to catch up with what you have missed. Which isn’t much, to be honest, and no, I don’t know if the title of this book is supposed to describe the state of the series.
This time around, Daphne Urban, our vampiress heroine, and the Darkwing gang are told to discover the source of this drug, Susito, that is making the rounds and killing people and put a stop to the production and marketing of those drugs. However, instead of ten pages of our enterprising vampires threatening everyone with bloodletting until they get the name of that enterprising villain and then going on a bloody rampage that can be later blamed on North Korea being naughty again, I have instead pages after pages of Daphne sighing and wandering around like a witless teenaged girl on her prom dress shopping trip. A new potential boyfriend is introduced here but like Darius, this fellow is flat and the chemistry is more forced than spontaneous. And like Darius, this fellow comes off as someone who could use some sessions with a shrink.
The reason this book is painful, even with Daphne’s often too-stupid antics (she’s an agent but she acts more like a hormonal nutcase most of time), is the reappearance of Darius who actually comes off as even more mentally unstable here. I don’t know why Daphne keeps pining for him because his standard interaction with Daphne in this book is him having sex with her and then calling her all kinds of nasty things in the morning. Then again, Daphne spends her time in this book either getting too drunk to the point that she nearly gets killed or she’s sighing and running around following the la-la-la tune in her own head, so it’s hard to feel sorry for her when Darius is treating her like complete dirt.
These Darkwing people are vampires. Much more powerful than the villains in this story. But I will never know that judging from how horrifically inept Daphne is as an undercover agent in this story. When the mission gets accomplished despite Daphne’s Herculean efforts to get herself killed by her complete lack of self-control or brainpower, there is something really wrong here. There’s a third book coming out. I really hope somehow a brain transplant is part of the plot in that book.