“ Author: Keri Arthur / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 06 November 2008 / Genre: Horror / Subcategory: Horror & Ghost Stories General / Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group / Title: Hearts in Darkness / ISBN 13: 9780749908966 / ISBN 10: 0749908966 „
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Although I would not describe myself as a Vampire fan I do find the concept interesting and I really have enjoyed the Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse series of books. With this in mind I stumbled across another vampire novel at my local charity shop the other day so I knew I must investigate it and find out how it compared.
==About the author:==
Keri Author is an Australian writer and a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the X-Files. She started writing at just 12 having been inspired by an Elaine Mitchell novel. So far she has written 23 with her debut novel being published in 2000. The novel I am about to review was also written in that year and is the second in a series of four Vampire books that feature Nikki and Michael as its stars.
==Synopsis of the book:==
Nikki James is a relatively normal human being and spends her time working with her partner Jake as Private Investigators. She is in her 20's but has a special talent Psychometry, which is the ability to touch objects and get some sense of the owner. She is on an assignment with Jake, as a worried mother asks them to follow her teenage son Matthew and find out what he is up to.
The trail leads to a disused warehouse where the Investigators have to deal with Vampires who are trying to kidnap the boy. In the fight the develops they escape with Matthew and despite killing two Vampires Jake is very badly injured and is fighting for his life in hospital.
Nikki teams up with her ex-lover and 300-year-old Vampire Michael to try and recover the boy who has now disappeared again and in the process destroy the evil Vampires. They agree to pose as newly weds in a Hotel where there has been a string is disappearances as Nikki feels the kidnapped boy's energy is close at hand. Now Nikki and Michael must try and put their feelings aside and find out what is going on at the luxurious venue before there are more strange happenings.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I thought this was a very average piece of fiction and certainly not one I enjoyed. The story was interesting without ever convincing me it was believable. I think the reason for that was the story lacked depth when dealing with the Vampires and I got the impression despite all the authors' efforts that reality seemed a long way away. For example despite all these people going missing from this Holiday resort the Police did not seem in evidence and their was no talk of them either.
This was the first novel I have read from Keri Arthur and as such part of my problem is getting used to her style of writing. As I usually find it is not until the second book from an author I understand the context of their writing and the background behind the characters. And you could argue that instead of selecting the second in the series I should have picked the first one, as that should have explained things more fully. But I disagree with that theory and believe you should be able to pick up any authors books and be able to read, enjoy and understand them and in this one I struggled.
As a result of this I never felt comfortable with this novel and I kept feeling I was missing something and despite persisting with the story I did not feel it was a rewarding read, rather something I needed to complete just to find out exactly did happen at the end of the book. Which is a poor reason in my view for continuing to read a book.
Yet I did not find this problem when I first started reading the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire books. Yes these where like this one unusual and it takes a little while to get your head round the idea of Vampires living within our communities. But I just felt a lot my thought had been put into describing and explaining this to the reader in the Charlaine Harris books, in this a lot appeared to be glossed over.
Although you could see certain similarities in concepts between the two types of books. And I found it interesting to compare and contrasts the two authors' ideas work.
The most obvious being both had the main character of a female in her 20's with an unusual ability that set her above the average person.
When I picked up the book I was immediately intrigued by it. The cover looked mysterious with a young ladies face shrouded in darkness thus showing only part of it. Plus I thought the title was a good one and on the front page their was a compliment about this author advising she was one of the best supernatural romance writers in the world, which I thought must make her work excellent.
So I flipped the book over to read the summary of the story. This was two fair sized paragraphs long. And while I didn't understand everything that was described there, there was a lot of detail some of which sounded interesting to me. It was on this basis I decided to purchase the book for just £1.00
However as soon as the story began I started to struggle to remember who was who within the story and I certainly felt the author while very good at describing the setting did not describe the characters physical appearance enough, as a result I struggled to picture them in my minds eye.
It was as the story developed that the other main concept of the book appeared and took equal centre stage with the recovering of the teenager and it took me a little by surprise, as I did not realise it was also a love story. But I did find this written well and the author used a lot of skill to write from both the central characters perspective to explain both of their feelings about the other. I do not do love or romance stories as a rule but I found this cleverly and intelligently written even if it wasn't really my cup of tea.
And while I could understand and except the two characters changing feelings for eachother and the situation they found themselves in I did struggle to find the kidnap and subsequent of trying to recover the teenager credible. It just all seemed to far fetched and despite being aware our two lead characters where after them the bad guys seemed to do little to stop them and invited them in their lair rather than catch them on the hop while they were relaxing before and in-between the chase.
That said the story was always fast paced and full of incident throughout. Maybe a little too much eroticism for me as I would have preferred more depth in the hunt for the kidnapped boy. With an equally fast paced conclusion, which was well thought out, unusual but quite predictable.
All the way through the story the author tried to inject both mystery and suspense into what was happening. But this did not work for me, as there seemed few credible suspects who could have organised the kidnap, so little in the way of mystery there. While in turns of suspense because of the supernatural nature of the story and my limited knowledge of these Vampires and Nikki's skills I never felt too much of this either and while I could see the writer was trying very hard to put it into the story because of the unusual setting and characters it never happened for me.
The two main characters where not surprising the Vampire hunters Nikki and Michael. I thought they were basically good characters although poorly described. So while I thought the author explained their thoughts and emotions well I struggled to picture them. I liked the concept that one of them was a Vampire and struggling to come to terms with his feelings for Nikki with his maker involved in the story and his feelings also for her. I found the author was consistent when she wrote from either of their viewpoints and it really made you feel she knew and understand them.
t was just a pity that she did not focus a little more emphasise on some of the support characters because what she had created in Cordell, Seline and Elizabeth was excellent and had me wanting to know more about them. Again these characters where minimally described so you had to make your own mind about what they really looked like only their actions where described.
While the author tried to create twists of turns and excitement in her writing it was largely lost on me as I struggled to find what was happening to the stars within the story believable. I am hoping that if I try another from this series I will not find this problem and I will be just able to enjoy the story without finding the concept behind it hard to understand and believe.
For me this was a weak Vampire related piece of fiction. I found it hard to find it believable in a story that was while full of action lacking in bite for me. That said I enjoyed the roller coaster relationship between the two stars of the story even if there was a little too much emphasise on this. This is not a novel I feel I can recommend but I am admittedly keen to read more from this author as she does have some good ideas and creates clever and fascinating characters.
Price: £2.45 Paperback new at Amazon
Publisher: Piatkus Books
ISBN-13: 978- 0749908966
Year first published: 2000
About the author: www.keriauthor.com
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS November 2011.