Thursday, April 18, 2013

Working Like a Dog

Published:  December 21st, 2012
Hard Day's Knight (The Black Knight Chronicles # 1)
By: John G. Hartness
Bell Bridge Books
ISBN-13:  9781611941678

Lots of Vampires. No Sparkles. Serious Snark.
Children are missing.
The police are stumped.
Halloween is coming, and an ancient evil is on the horizon.
The vampires are the good guys.

This is not your ordinary fall weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. Vampire private detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood have been hired to save a client from being cursed for all eternity, but end up in a bigger mess than they ever imagined.

Suddenly trapped in the middle of a serial kidnapping case, Jimmy and Greg uncover a plot to bring forth an ancient evil. Soon, they've enlisted the help of a police detective, a priest, a witch, a fallen angel and a strip club proprietor to save the world. This unlikely band of heroes battles zombies, witches, neuroses and sunburn while cracking jokes and looking for the perfect bag of O-negative.

     Jimmy Black doesn't know how he let himself get caught by some scrawny, geek teenager.  But he knows one thing - he sure as Hell isn't changing him into a vampire!  When the kid tells him about a witch cursing his entire family, Jimmy can't help but be curious enough to get involved, and drag his partner Greg into it right beside him.  Pretty soon the guys are using all their combined vampire detective skills and snark to help solve the case of a bunch of missing kids.  But things might even be too complicated and dangerous for a couple creatures of the night with a demon bent on starting the apocalypse as the Big Bad.  Maybe with the help of a confused and bitchy police detective, a fallen angel, a priest and a witch they can solve the case and stop the world from ending.  Who knows, maybe they'll get a little lovin' in the bargain too!
     I wasn't sure what to expect from two vampire private detectives, but I got more than I even subconsciously thought I would!  Jimmy and Greg are two snarky, nerdy vampires who still look exactly the same as they did before they were changed - in other words they're not sex gods like vamps are supposed to be.  Jimmy likes watching Buffy and Dexter and is the brawns of the operation.  Greg is the computer hacker/genius and is eternally unlucky in love.  I hadn't read the synopsis too closely and was surprised at the major role demons and fallen angels played in the story.  Reading this book was like watching an episode of Supernatural.  The priest (whom they call Dad) was a childhood friend and still thinks the boys are worth saving, still good guys (also Father Mike is a total bad-ass, which is awesome).  My favorite thing in this novel was the obvious strength of the relationships between Jimmy, Greg and Father Mike.  The dialogue is a bonus and kept me on my toes.  Jimmy was my favorite character, but I'm guessing that was mostly due to him being the primary narrator of the novel.  The surprise redemption of a not-so-good, but not-so-evil after all character at the end of the novel was a beautifully written scene that had me smiling.  The mystery of the missing children and the demon possessions was well executed, but the ending with Jimmy and the lady police detective felt more than a little clichéd and sort of forced to me as a reader.  All in all it was an interesting book and I will probably be reading the sequel.  I'd recommend it to fans of the T.V. shows Supernatural and Angel, along with a good shot of (and someone out there is gonna kill me for this comparison!) your favorite cozy mystery series.  It just has that slightly formulaic feel to it, but not in a bad way! :)

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published December 21st, 2012.*

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