Friday, March 2, 2007

"Passionate Thirst" by Cameron Dean

Another vampire slayer has entered the paranormal romance fray. Candace Steele is working as a cocktail waitress in a Vegas casino when the book opens. Of course, we find out early on that this is merely a cover; her "real" job is to take out vampires. She has a unique ability to sense a vamp due to being bitten herself and almost dying. Luckily, she didn't perish, nor was she turned. The nightmare of that event has spurred her into her current obsession of ridding her new hometown of the evil bloodsuckers.

Enter a child-like pop queen, Temptation McCoy, who is putting on a show at the casino. Her manager, Dru Benson, is not only controlling, he's a vamp - and Candace must protect the star to be sure the show will go on as planned. Trouble being, Dru is a very strong, old vamp, and Candace can't let anyone know that he's not human, otherwise their lives will be in danger. There are also some dead bodies that start showing up at a strip club, bodies that aren't human, which means there's a killer on the loose. Not that she doesn't mind a dead vamp, but it's bad to draw attention to that sort of thing. If that wasn't bad enough, her old flame, Ash, is in town to try to win her back. Oh, and he's the vamp that almost left her for dead. What's a girl to do?

Well, not much, at least, not in this book. This isn't a bad book, really, but it's certainly not great. It's sort of like those movies you find yourself watching on a Sunday afternoon, something that you're really not that interested in but there's nothing better on and you don't feel like doing anything else but sitting in front of the boob tube. This book is exactly like that. There's nothing really new here, not if you've been reading this sort of thing for a while, which I have. There are other authors out there covering the same ground and, quite frankly, doing a much better job of it. The plot felt very old, very "been there, done that".

Then there's the problem of the characters themselves. I didn't really ever connect with Candace, which is especially bad for a book told from a first-person perspective. I thought Ash was interesting, but not so much that I need to read the next book (this is the first in a trilogy). Her friend Bibi was the stereotypical best friend, always there for her with a wise word, especially during her original break with Ash. The only thing that caught me by surprise was the reveal of the murderer. That was a great twist, but not enough to save the book.

There's also a huge problem with Candace's memory, and it plays an integral part in this book. She dated Ash back in San Francisco, fell in love with him, found out he was a vamp, dated him anyway, and even agreed to cross over to be with him eternally. At the last second, though, she changed her mind and ran from him, after he'd already bitten her and drained quite a bit of her blood. However, she keeps referring to him as the vamp that almost cost her her life, the one that tried to destroy her, etc. Uh, that's not right, is it? The whole scene of the bite is told in flashback, so we know what happened. As a reviewer on Amazon put it, it's very much like crying rape after the fact. The impression I got throughout the book was that Ash truly loves her and wants her to be with him. He's not evil, he's not manipulative, he's not a bad guy. She's made him into one by using some very selective memories of that one night. It's hard to feel her pain when you find yourself blaming her for how she's turned out.

All in all, I'd have to give this a "blah". If you don't have anything else to do, nothing else to read, and it happens to fall into your lap, sure, give it a try. I wouldn't actually go out and buy it; if you still want to read it, find a good used copy or check your local library.

1 comment:

PJ said...

OK, I am hooked. I have ordered this book and can hardly wait to get it. Since I know two children in the same family with different forms of autism, I thought it would help me associate. Even though there are different forms of autism, the oldest child does communicate very well and perhaps this book will help me relate more to her.