This is the 8th novella in the Vampire For Hire series by J. R. Rain. It continues the story of Samantha Moon, a former government agent, who was attacked about seven years prior and turned into a vampire. She is now a private investigator and is still a vampire.
This is definitely not a standalone entry in the series. Even though J. R. Rain often provides brief recaps of previous cases, they are really only reminders to the reader regarding the progress of her situation. Unless the previous entries have been read page-by-page, you will not understand, in this entry, the importance of Danny, Kingsley, Russell, Allison and Hanner. And you will definitely not comprehend the importance of Fang to both the story line and to Samantha.
This entry begins when LAPD homicide detective Sanchez presents a case to Samantha through Fullerton homicide detective Sherbet. Two hikers have been murdered in the same park on the same trail, their necks savagely ripped open and their bodies missing more blood than can be accounted for by spillage. Sanchez has the immediate, uncanny and unusual ability to connect with Samantha telepathically. Delving into his mind surreptitiously and by viewing the attack through the memories of the ghost of one dead hiker, Samantha is able to determine the identity of the killers. And the hunt begins.
While the murder plot presented in this novella is both important and complete in its own right, it feels as if J. R. Rain is using this story as a bridge. By the end, Samantha has burned at least one bridge to the ground and has begun construction of several new ones. But the author has also used the concept as a literary device to tie up several plot threads that have been coursing through the series. Some have been present for only a few entries, but at least one has been in play since the very first book. By tying off these threads, Rain lays the foundation for Samantha’s life – and her powers – as a vampire to expand.
At times I felt that too much was being crammed into too little space. I also had a hard time keeping track of the time line – what day it was and whether we were in flashback memory or in real time. However, by the end of the novella, when it was time to confront the killers, Rain pulled it together into a coherent, clear, step-by-step denouement. No confusion – just action, suspense and terror. And there was some considerable anger, enlightenment and heartbreak thrown into the mix, too.
Several major plot threads from earlier entries are still in play, in particular the demon that uses Samantha as a host and the Diamond Medallion. But, most importantly is the issue of Fang. J. R. Rain, through this book, has paved the way for these threads – and Samantha – to expand and to evolve.
Cover Art from Goodreads