Unfortunately, Bitter Black Kiss failed to live up to other books in the paranormal romance genre I’ve read. There is not enough back story to show why the characters are the way they are.
The main comparison is Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books, with the modern setting and a paranormal race out in the open. In this case, it’s Lycans/Werewolves, instead of vampires. However, while Harris manages to create characters you care what happens to, Clay fails to do so.
Nicky Riley, the main character, has clearly been through some sort of traumatic experience, but you’re never given good enough reasons why her actions are rather ill thought out and she doesn’t seem to question what is happening. Clay doesn’t give you anything in order to empathise or sympathise with her.
There is an incident where I sat astounded at Nicky’s blatant acceptance of a clearly corrupt and questionable character. He had already drugged and attempted to rape Nicky, but when the chips are down, she takes his side.
Brody Dunn, the male protagonist, lacked common sense, especially when going after the local mobster. He charges in like a bull in a china shop, which for an ex-cop, seemed out of character. Things, such as evidence and alibis, seem to go out of his mind, giving the mobster enough in order to set him up time and time again.
The romance between Brody and Nicky is based on what can only be described as an animal attraction. Though the bedroom scenes are rather steamy and well written, it isn’t enough to make the book a must read.
The only promising part of the book was that of the Wild Hunt, the one night of the year where the local pack is free to let their wild natures free. It is brutal and fast paced, throwing you right in the middle of the action. You can feel how everything is on a knife edge and could go either way. I found myself caught up in the action, only to be taken out of it sharply when Nicky and Brody went and hid in a cottage to escape the pack.
The outcome of the book was abrupt and though the plotlines were tied up, something was missing. I don’t know what it is, but whether it was because I didn’t feel emotionally involved with the characters or the fact the plotlines were too cleanly tied up, I’m not sure. All I know is that by the end of the book I didn’t feel frustration or relieved that I had finished it.
Clay shows a knack for writing excellent confrontational scenes between characters, however the lack of any sort of empathy to the characters or an engaging plotline means I wouldn’t out this author on my ‘Must Read Pile’. If she manages to master these aspects, I’d maybe consider picking up another one of her books.
BUY YOUR COPY