Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (June 30th 2009)
How I got this book: free from a contest on All Things Urban Fantasy sponsored by Tor.com
Links: Amazon Goodreads
Her job description is the “tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers.” What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek’s brave new world—one in which only one percent of the population is human—is that a woman’s work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day…
Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she’s the best there in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves. David’s world—one that also includes lycanthropes and golems—is one with little knowledge of mental illness. An insane serial killer is a threat the NSA has no experience with. But Jace does. Stranded in a reality where Bela Lugosi is a bigger box office draw than Bruce Willis and every full moon is Mardi Gras, Jace must now hunt down a fellow human before he brings the entire planet to the brink of madness. Or she may never see her own world again…
Dying Bites exceeded my expectations! I was immediately drawn in by the world building, which is by far the best part of the story. I loved the concept of an alternate reality in which supernatural creatures have made humans an endangered species. The historical details of this reality are so similar, yet so different from our world – from Hitler’s genocide, to war in the Middle East, everything is slightly off, and I find it fascinating. One major difference I enjoyed is that guns do not exist in this alternate universe. As you can imagine, this presents some interesting and hilarious challenges for our heroine, an FBI agent from our world who is very attached to her firearm.
The story is well written, and the descriptive prose is particularly vivid. The protagonist, Jace, is brazen, snarky, and fearless to the point of stupidity… yet likable. It’s difficult not to sympathize with her as she is thrown into a new world and suddenly has to learn how to navigate the supernatural. The ethical dilemmas Jace faces are gut wrenching. In a world where humans are fighting for survival, she can’t help but question who she can trust and whose side she should take. I really felt Jace’s sense of sadness, hopelessness, and inner conflict, which made me root for her despite her occasional dumb behavior.
The supporting cast is well drawn, especially Charlie, a golem and Jace’s new partner. He’s the perfect counterpoint to Jace’s mood swings, and he doesn’t take crap from her or anyone. The plot is fast paced and the mystery intriguing, though I’m surprised that we don’t get to see more of Jace’s profiling abilities since she’s supposed to be a criminal profiler. I also could have done without as much relationship angst, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. Action packed and entertaining, Dying Bites is a fun adventure, especially as the last few chapters devolve into a furious race to save the world from an insane terrorist. All in all, this was a surprisingly good read, and I’m looking forward to reading Death Blows, the second book in The Bloodhound Files series.
Better Off Undead (coming October 4th 2011)