cover image The Hunger

The Hunger

Susan Squires, Author . St. Martin's $6.99 (375p) ISBN 978-0-312-99854-7

Squires's third Regency vampire romance (after Sacrament and The Companion ) isn't just dark; it's grisly with graphic scenes of heads being ripped off and worse. Through it all, vampire and self-made countess Beatrice Lisse and British secret agent John Staunton prove their resilience, though they rarely have an earnest conversation. Instead, from their first encounter, they engage in a verbal battle of one-upmanship. Beatrice recognizes that John is more than the smooth seducer he appears to be, and he in turn realizes that she isn't a mere courtesan. But after exchanging a few barbs and a little poetry, the two are swept up in a dangerous plot spearheaded by a power-hungry vampire from Beatrice's past. Squires lays on the suspense in the final half, keeping readers guessing as to whether Beatrice and John will wind up together... with all their body parts intact. Though there's little time for the protagonists to develop a relationship, and the level of violence may turn off some readers, this tale of redemption and lust will hold true vampire aficionados—the kind who admire Dracula, not Spike—rapt. Agent, TK. (Oct.)