Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-514-5
Fantasy, 2009 (Reissue)
The Virtuous Vampire is an urban fantasy mystery-cum-romance that features some very familiar characters. We have a witch who is also a lawyer, Abigail Merriweather Gooden, and she is a determined career woman who is constantly pestered by her mother to get married and pop out babies. Then we have a vampire, Jurnik Golub, the exotically named vampire dude who owns a naughty club. Is there any other kind of vampires around? Lucan Knight is the werewolf who is also a PI. Poor Luc – even his name is a cliché.
In this story, Jurnik hires Abbie to defend himself when his ex-lover turns up dead and he becomes a suspect. Luc knows Jurnik and he’s naturally on board for the fun. During the course of investigation, Luc is attracted to Abbie and we all know how the story ends for those two because this book isn’t part of a series called Gooden and Knight for no reason. As those two try to discover who framed Jurnik and why, they will fall in love. The villain, naturally, will cause some drama to entertain everyone.
The characters are tired clichés, but still, I like the fact that Abbie gets to continue being pretty tough and strong-willed right to the end without having to adopt a position of weakness or subservience to Luc’s alpha male tendencies. The author also doesn’t overdo the mate-mate-mate nonsense. In this story, I can easily see why Luc would be attracted to Abbie and vice-versa, so it’s not entirely a case of two people being forced to be in love due to biological instincts or soulmate nonsense here. The mystery is fine too, although the cartoon villain dampens my mood considerably.
What I find awkward in this otherwise readable story are the conversations in this story. Some of the phrases used, like “hanky panky”, feel odd coming from supposedly suave and urban young people. I blink when Jurnik describes his love affair with the now-dead stripper as “flaming”, because “flaming” has a completely different meaning today and I have a hard time imagining anyone, especially a man, using that word to describe a hot and heavy love affair. These and many words and phrases in the conversations in this story make the characters come off more antiquated than your usual leather-clad cool and kick-ass urban fantasy types.
The Virtuous Vampire is a pretty good introduction to this series, but I hope the author gets to turn on the hip factor a little more in the next book.