Reviewed by: Kris
Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
Lord of the West, Master Vampire Raphael rules with an iron fist and raw power. So when a group of unknown vampires and humans get past his extensive security to kidnap Alexandra, one of his favored vampires, he does the unexpected and hires a human P.I.
Cynthia Leighton—call her Cyn—is a former LAPD officer that moved on to private investigative work when she realized that she does not play well with others. While her work normally consists of the usual cheating spouse and insurance fraud, she once saved a vampire and her name is known to the vampire community as a human that can be trusted.
Cyn is willing to help Raphael find the perpetrators and Alexandra but neither of them expected the sparks that fly or the insidious truth of the crime. While Alexandra’s time runs out, Raphael and Cyn learn that even more danger can come from giving into the fire between them.
It has been six year or so since I first read Raphael, and I am happy to say the magic is still there. There are so many things that work in this book. Raphael is a Vampire with a capital V. He is powerful, dangerous, ruthless, and dead sexy (if you will forgive the pun). The vampires in this book are the way vampires should be, and Raphael is a magnificent example. Cynthia Leighton is a heroine after my own heart. She is tough, capable, and smart. She knows herself and is confident with her choices in life. She is not a woman that waits for a man to save her.
When I love main characters as much as I love these two, typically I will forgive a lot, but DB Reynolds delivers an action-packed story with a gripping plot, amazing and believable world building, and well-rounded secondary characters. There is nothing to forgive. Everything about this book weaves together into a fabulous series opener. One of the most impressive feats is that DB Reynolds manages to not dump a whole bunch of exposition in Raphael. The vampire hierarchy, the Malibu setting, and the central action of the book all unfold naturally and with ease.
I will caution that this is not a typical romance. Cyn and Raphael circle around one another, neither trusting that the palpable lust surrounding them could be something more. That lust though—yowza! In addition to some incredibly steamy scenes, there are also some violent and bloody action scenes. These vampires do not apologize for what they are—they revel in it. This is very much an adult novel.
The only criticism I can offer is that this book ends with the dreaded “to be continued.” This does not bother me but I know some readers can be turned off when books end like that. Having said that, the Vampires in America series is one of my very favorite and I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy powerful vampires, sexy confident women, stellar world building and a series that just grows and evolves into something better with each book.
Sexual content: graphic sex