Title: Blood Vice (Nightfall Syndicate #1)
Author: Keith Melton
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: 1 Dec 2009
Paperback: 276 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Review Copy
Reviewed by: Carolyn
Business has never been better for hit man Karl Vance. Boston is awash in mafia blood, and as a master vampire, Vance has a certain fondness for blood. Hes sworn to never again feed on the blood of innocents, preying instead on the criminal underworld. Which makes him a valuable asset to those who deal in death. Maria Ricardi intends to use that asset to its full extent in order to gain power within her patriarchal crime family. Vance thinks hes been hired to keep track of her, but shes got a plan to earn the respect she deserves. And shes not above using their instant attraction to get what she wants.
Her ambition draws the attention of a rival clans most dangerous consultant. Alejandro Delgado, Vances centuries-old nemesis. Delgado zeroes in on the one chink in Vances armorhis fondness for Maria. Now shes enslaved by Delgados unnatural kiss. Only one thing is certain. Vance has to decide which he wants more. To settle the scoreor rescue her soul.
‘Blood Vice‘ opens with a bang. A fight scene that’s action-packed and fast-paced and this is how it continues throughout the novel. However, even with this opening chapter, Blood Vice wasn’t quite what I expected. With the quote on the back cover giving me a warning of “intense graphic mafia-related violence and explicit vampire sex” I was expecting something a bit more dark and gritty.
Although ‘Blood Vice‘ doesn’t quite measure up to the quote, as it doesn’t really contain much violence or graphic sex, and you know this to be true if I’m saying it… well, you know how I get if sex scenes are too graphic *embarrassed* I believe that even for those who like their romance a little more raunchy in their urban fantasy, they would still enjoy this novel.
The narration is third person, so we jump from Karl Vance, vampire and assassin, to Maria Ricardi, daughter of Alberto Ricardi, the head of one of the biggest mafia families in the city. Karl and Maria are both likable characters and Karl has a lot of heart. The surprising aspect of this novel was that it was really driven by Karl’s love for Maria.
Maria is very determined and career driven. As a woman she has no place in the crime world, as seen through the eyes of the men in the ‘family’. However, Maria has different ideas and with the backing of her father hires Karl to kill members of the rival family. Maria shows a lot of independence and fearlessness and doesn’t bat an eye if the situation requires murder. So, it was with relish that I enjoyed the twist to Maria’s character as it put her in a position she couldn’t control and revealed a more vulnerable side to her nature. I look forward to seeing how she deals with her new life in the series.
Karl is a contradiction in that he kills with ease, then prays to God. We get to know him fairly well over the chapters and realise that most of his actions come from a good place. He really is one of the good guys and this shines through especially when he’s with Maria. He oozes confidence with regards to who and what he is and doesn’t seem to doubt himself for one minute. He is quite a complex character and I hope more is revealed about him in future books.
One problem I did have with the book was at the beginning Melton seemed confused as to what to call his main protagonist. The first chapter begins with Karl, but switches to Vance. Luckily the synopsis on the back cover revealed the name as “Karl Vance”, but if it hadn’t been for that I could easily have thought it was two separate characters, making the opening scene a little confusing. After a while Melton settles for Karl, but occasionally still referrers to him as Karl Vance as though he’s reminding the reader who the character is. This is totally unnecessary and did niggle a bit, but after a while the story took over and I became engrossed in what is essentially a very good, fairly refreshing urban fantasy.
‘Blood Vice‘ is quite original in that it combines mafia war with vampires and they actually mesh well together. There are also aspects in ‘Blood Vice‘ that I hope will be developed further in subsequent books, with Blood Vice being the first in the series. I think this novel is a good addition to the urban fantasy genre and would certainly recommend it.
You can find more about the author here: