I get tired reading about romantic vampires, be they with fangs, sparkling, tattooed, or preordained to meet their mates. Don’t get me wrong, I still paranormal romance, but what happened to the dark vampire, the charismatic, blood sucking vamp, that doesn’t fall in love with the female lead and go off softly into the sunset?
That’s one why I am totally enthralled by Faith Hunter’s Urban Fantasy series with Jane Yellowrock. Jane was introduced in Skinwalker, a Cherokee Skinwalker, apparently the last of her kind. If that wasn’t bad enough, Jane actually is more than a Skinwalker. Black magic in her past bound her to the soul of another, a panther known simply as beast.
Another is Hunter’s remaining true to natural laws, placing this Urban Fantasy as completely possible, a parallel reality to our own.
In Mercy Blade, we pick up where Jane left off with her boyfriend, undercover cop Rick. They make an interesting couple, Rick can’t share work stories anymore than Jane can. Rick investigates the paranormal, Jane is a Vampire Hunter, killing rogues for the Master Of the City in New Orleans. If that weren’t enough, Rick is not aware that Jane is a shape shifter. Common interests, including their motorcycles, makes it work this early in their relationship.
The story leads back into the dark world of the paranormal community. The weres are coming out of the closet, a black Wereleopard shifts on national television, giving Jane some possible clues to her own background.
Unfortunately, the Werewolves and the Vampires in New Orleans have a longtime dispute. Although they have stayed out of the city, the Werewolves take up a long run grudge against Leo, the MOC, and crash the Vamp/Were meeting. They were not invited.
Murder, mayhem, and new characters are introduced. What is the Mercy Blade, and what does he have to do with vampires and saving them from the madness of dolore? Jane has to decide if Rick is just undercover again, playing around on her, or if she needs to save him. There are other men interested in Jane, not just what she is. But as Beast says, big cats don’t mate for life.
The paranormals in Hunter’s universe have long memories. Jane’s may even be longer.
As usual, more clues are scattered as to Jane’s past, and new lines are opened for future books. As with other favorite books in this genre, if there are any real issues with the book is that it takes too long to wait for the next.