Title: Spirit Sanguine
Author: Lou Harper
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Buy Link: Spirit Sanguine, Samhain Publishing
Genre: ParanormalM/M Romance
Rating: 5 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: What happens when you find yourself drawn to the very thing you have been taught to hate?
Blurb: Is that a wooden stake in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
After five years in eastern Europe using his unique, inborn skills to slay bloodsuckers, Gabe is back in his hometown Chicago and feeling adrift. Until he’s kidnapped by a young, sexy vampire who seems more interested in getting into his pants than biting into his neck.
Harvey Feng is one-half Chinese, one-hundred-percent vampire. He warns Gabe to stay out of the Windy City, but somehow he isn’t surprised when the young slayer winds up on his doorstep. And why shouldn’t Gabe be curious? A vegetarian vampire isn’t something one sees every day.
Against their better judgment, slayer and vampire succumb to temptation. But their affair attracts unexpected attention.
When Chicago’s Vampire Boss makes Gabe an offer he can’t refuse, the unlikely lovers are thrust into peril and mystery in the dark heart of the Windy City. Together they hunt for kidnappers, a killer preying on young humans, and vicious vampire junkies.
However, dealing with murderous humans and vampires alike is easy compared to figuring out if there’s more to their relationship than hot, kinky sex.
Review: I have to do this. I have to share a few tiny pieces of this hilarious, exciting and well written novel with you. Harvey (aka vegetarian vampire–wait, let that soak in a minute…ok) and Gabe (vampire slayer…yes–slayer, as in Buffy with muscles, well, more muscles) are on their first stake out together, much to Gabe’s better judgement. Here is one of oh so many gems Lou Harper creates for us to enjoy.
“This was a bad idea. Augustine didn’t say I could bring you along, ” he said.
“He didn’t say you couldn’t. Who’s better to have along on a stakeout than a partner who doesn’t have to pee? Just think about all the money you’re saving on adult diapers.”
and then there was this…their ongoing, incredibly sexy role playing in the bedroom…
“You won’t be able to make me squeal.” Harvey said, with a look of hard determination…
“Where’s the bomb?” Gabe growled. He remembered Jack Bauer looking for bombs a lot.
Harvey game him a defiant glare. “In my pants.”
Gabe pressed his hand over the bulge in Harvey’s jeans. “Yeah, it’s sure a suspicious package, I will have to investigate.”
Oh my goodness, dear reader, I laughed till I cried! So, having read the blurb, you get the premise of the novel, slayer meets vegan vamp and hilarity and hijinks ensue. However, author Lou Harper manages to also keep a very real vein of truth running throughout Spirit Sanguine by allowing us to hear some of Gabe’s inner dialogue as he wrestles with the fact that for five solid years, running on the anger fueled by his parents mysterious death, he has staked his way through most of Hungary and Europe killing any rogue vamp that got in his way. And now…he is sleeping with one..and dare I say, falling in love as well. However that love carrot is never dangled outright, leaving us guessing right up to the end of this spirited and delightful novel whether or not the vamp will get his boy!
There are an awful of paranormal novels glutting this market these days, from vamps to werewolves to zombies on cannot see to see a month’s releases on any major press without hitting on one, at the very least. I must say that I have read my fair share, and that, recently, very few have left me anything but a wee bit jaded and less than satisfied. Well, the dry spell had ended–cue the heavenly choirs!
This is a sharp, witty old fashioned gumshoe detective story with delicious twists and turns that kept me laughing, biting my nails and just smiling a silly grin the entire time I read. Gabe was a deep and multi-layered character whom most in the book, except for Harvey viewed as single minded and rather boring but dangerous killer. When he is put on the payroll of the vampire version of the mafia boss, he evolves exponentially and we are privy to his self-doubt, his ever present but feint unease at being not only the boyfriend of a vampire but an employee of one as well. I love the fact that nothing ever sat well or easily with Gabe. His worry over his new role as vampire hunter but not killer, his slight unease at being a “boyfriend” of a vampire, vegan or not, and his denial that he could ever fall in love with a vamp–or anyone, for that matter, all combined to make him so real, tangible and one of my favorite characters to date.
Harvey, a former nurse, who has concocted a blood replacement for vampires who do not want to take human blood is just the opposite of Gabe in so many ways. Yet his ability to hide his real emotions and keep part of himself withdrawn and hidden erodes slowly as he finds himself falling in love with Gabe. Harvey has a core of steel but he is also wrapped in an air of fragility that makes you, in response, want to wrap him up in your arms and assure him everything will work out in the end.
The two characters, along with a long list of secondary characters that ranged from the sublime to the silly made this novel a five star read for me. Entertaining and sweet, while action driven and witty to a fault, interesting, with smart dialogue and interesting twists around each corner added to the overall winning novel that Spirit Sanguine became in the end. If you have had your fill of less than satisfying paranormal story lines lately, I encourage you to pick up Lou Harper’s novel–you will not be disappointed!