Frank (A Kiss of Magic) grafts a sketch of an urban police procedural onto a vague setting of treaty negotiations, vampires hiding from humans, and a facile, obvious line between the good vamps and the bad, creating a sparse story that lacks bite. Energy vampire and lead negotiator Rafe DaSilva seduces cop Renee Holden primarily to probe her mind about her investigation of a murder he believes was committed by sycophants—vampires who feed on drug addicts and sick people until they die instead of feeding lightly on the organic-minded, clean-living humans that the good vampires target. But the draw Rafe feels toward Renee’s attractiveness and energy purity makes her a target for the sycophants and forces him to share secrets about vampire culture just to keep her safe. Renee’s skittishness and her lackadaisical investigative style are incongruous for a seasoned N.Y.C. homicide detective, and there’s too little crackle of the paranormal in either the fights or the sex scenes. A final info dump about vampire origins and high-ranking sycophants at large sets the stage for the next volume. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (Jan.)
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