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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Past Redemption

****½ Past Redemption by Savannah Russe. Contemporary fantasy.

This is the second book of the Darkwing Chronicles, about vampire spy Daphne Urban.

This time, the Darkwings' mission involves a new drug, susto, that's exclusive, expensive...and deadly. The investigation is complicated by Daphne's love life: Darius, the ex-boyfriend who'd been a vampire hunter until she'd turned him to save his life, keeps popping up, wavering between love and loathing. He says he loves her, but who's that woman he's hanging around with? And Fitz, the nice guy she's just met, may very well be part of the drug ring. As if all that weren't enough, there's been a sudden influx of vampire hunters.

The series seems to hit its stride with Past Redemption. The person and the mystery plots mesh nicely, and we're getting to know the players a little better. There's an intriguing side-mystery about new Darkwing member Bubba's pre-vampire identity, and the team is starting to work together as a unit rather than as separate individuals.

Darius's hot and cold reactions could become tiresome, but they don't. It's clear that he's having real difficulties adjusting to becoming what until recently he'd hunted and killed, but it's also clear that that's not the whole story, and that he's hiding something.

One small quibble is that Daphne, like so many other heroines in this subgenre (contemporary fantasy/chick lit/suspense? there are relationships, but regardless what the spine says, this isn't romance) is fashion-obsessed. Unlike the others, however, Daphne at least doesn't tout the same handful of designer names that make me think the rest of them all share the same closet.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, and I have Beneath the Skin and In the Blood on my to-buy list.

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