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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Death Blows (Bloodhound Files book 2) by DD Barant


Death Blows follows shortly after the end of the first book in this series, Dying Bites. I'm not sure how to explain the events of this one, so I'll start with the blurb:

FBI profiler Jace Valchek was pulled into this parallel realm to hunt for Aristotle Stoker, a human serial killer who preys on vampires and werewolves. Now she works for the National Security Agency of the Unnatural States of America—and her boss is a vampire.

At a bizarre crime scene, Jace finds a bloodsucker murdered by magic, fried to the bone and dressed in the costume of the comic book hero the Flash—a character who isn’t supposed to exist here. Comic books have been outlawed for their powers, including crossover spells like the one that transported Jace to this world. Soon, she’s following a trail of dead bodies into the sinister underworld of black-market comics—where a deranged madman gives new meaning to the term “super-villain”…

I wish I could say the second book was as good as the first. I loved the first book. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Death Blows.  I believe this was a case of the plot being too discombobulated... too twisted... too complex. 

I still enjoyed spending time with Jace, and I appreciate that her relationships in this world are growing deeper. Not romantic relationships, but work relationships. People she can consider friends.

I also loved the humor. I've typed up explanations for two of the things that I laughed out loud at, but when I explain them they aren't funny... so I deleted what I typed.  I'll just say that I laughed out loud at least a half a dozen times during Death Blows and silently chuckled another couple of dozen times, and leave it at that.

As for the writing elements, the plot didn't work in book two. It had a good start, but it took several leaps that were just too big.  It felt like the author wrote herself (himself?) into a corner and only had so many words left before reaching the maximum allowed so the author just had the character suddenly get a flash of intuition that solved everything, and then had her run off for the final confrontation. The concepts behind the plot, that of a comic book, with so many eyeballs reading it, could fuel magic... it was a brilliant concept, but it was simply taken too far. Perhaps if I were more familiar with comics of the 1950's and 1960's it would have meant more to me, but I'm not, and it didn't.

Pacing had some rough spots, but wasn't terrible. Prose and dialogue once again kicked ass, character development was well done, and the details given to world building continue to enchant.

Dying Bites got a 10 of 10 from me, but Death Blows is only going to get a 7 of 10. That puts the series at an 8 of 10. I hope the next book, Killing Rocks, can recapture the magic of Dying Bites.
  • Book Rating: Death Blows: 7 of 10
  • Series Rating: 8 of 10

1. Dying Bites
2. Death Blows
3. Killing Rocks (Dec 28, 2010)


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