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Review: Night’s Caress by Mary Hughes (The Ancients #1)

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Night's Caress by Mary Hughes // VBC ReviewNight’s Caress (The Ancients #1)
Mary Hughes
Published: Sept. 25, 2017 (Entangled)
Purchase: Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

We all love stories about quirky small towns, right? Meiers Corner, Illinois is a Chicago suburb that plays up its German heritage for tourists. The shops all have German names and proprietors with German accents. They sell traditional sausage and cheese, and lots of beer. But alongside the kitsch, there’s a survivalist store that stocks silver bullets because the residents of Meiers Corner also know about vampires.

Brie Lark, former Meiers Corner resident, now working for the FBI in New York, gets sent back to her hometown as part of an undercover investigation. Her assignment: pretend to be dating Special Agent Seb Rikare while he looks for a murderer, and don’t let anyone find out he’s a vampire. Brie has no desire to go back home or to date another vampire, even if it’s just pretend. But she does desire Seb in a big way, which of course complicates things.

Brie describes herself as having an “artistic temperament,” and she plays into the stereotype with lots of jangly jewelry and brightly colored hair. But she really wants to be a forensic artist. I liked the way her art played in to the story, first when she asked Seb to teach her about investigating and later when her sketches help with the case.

Seb is a four-thousand-year-old Egyptian who was once a soldier. As one of the Ancients, he has powers that younger vampires don’t. He talks about how meeting Brie changed him, awakening his feelings after centuries of being emotionless, but when we meet him he’s already undergone that change. I wanted to see his emotional growth on the page, rather than hear him talk about it. And I’d like to know more about how he wound up in the FBI. We learn a lot about his history around the time he was turned over the course of the book, but not much about what he’s done in the intervening time.

Once the town’s vampires inevitably get involved, the murder mystery becomes secondary to Seb preventing a vampire war. I always love supernatural politics and these are especially twisty. And the fight scenes are crazy! Added to the kitschy town and quirky characters, they made this book a lot of fun.

Years ago when I first discovered the Kindle app, one of the first ebook series I read was Mary Hughes’s Biting Love, which she’s recently re-released. I didn’t realize until chapter two that Night’s Caress is set in the same world. The town and its residents are a big part of the story, but you could follow it without reading the earlier books. (I obviously don’t remember them well and am not up to date.)

I’m not sure that future The Ancients series will stay in Meiers Corner, but I do think it will be interesting to see what Hughes does with these millennia-old vampires.

Sexual content: graphic sex

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