Monday, January 7, 2008

Review: Blood Price (Vickie Nelson #1)

“Can One Ex-Policewoman and A Vampire Defeat the Magic-Spawned Evil Which is Devastating Toronto?"

Blood Price, by Tanya Huff, is the first book in the Blood series. The setting is contemporary (1990s) Toronto, a major Canadian metropolis in the province of Ontario. Victoria “Vicki” Nelson, former policewoman and current private investigator, has her first major homicidal unit case since she left the police force. The reason why Vicki left the force is her deteriorating eyesight (retinitis pigmentosa), which makes her vision virtually blind at night. Tall, smart and independent, she quickly rushes to aid a victim. As she discovers the first body in a Toronto subway, she requests the police for emergency. She meets ex-partner (and ex-lover), Mike Celluci, at the crime scene. Silent, temperamental and cynical, you wonder how he and Vicki ever got along—they seem like total opposites always in argument! “You could’ve stayed on the force!” recalls Mike to Vicki. She insistently straightens her glasses on her nose and sighs in the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the newspapers read “Vampire Stalks City!” after three victims have fallen dead in these bloody, merciless murders inthe night. Henry Fitzroy, the mysterious 450-year-old vampire living in Toronto, hears the news from his condominium. Short stature with reddish-blonde hair but incredible supernatural strength as a vampire, this news outrages him because vampires are naturally a “solitary breed.” If the perpetrator is a vampire, it has to be a ‘child,’ a newly formed vampire who has not adjusted enough to their new change. Vampires are also territorial creatures who cannot live in the same city with one another. It was important for people to know less about the true nature of vampires. These crimes have become a high priority to Henry.

Norman Birdwell, famous weird college nerd, has always wanted to fit in with his peers. He will go to the extremes just to hang with the guys and attract the chicks. When he finds the newspaper clipping, “Vampire Stalks City!” in his lecture hall, his knuckles whiten with apprehension. What relationship does Norman have to do with these crimes? The girlfriend of the first victim begs Vicki to solve this case and avenge her lover’s death. As dead victims continue to escalate with their throats torn from the flesh, Vicki realizes after finding enough evidence that this suspect is no ordinary human. Before she can react, she finds herself unconscious in Henry’s place. Why did he bring her to his place? He tells Vicki that he is (was) the bastard son of Henry VIII (1491–1547), King of England. They strike a deal to defeat whoever is summoning this demon together.

I thought the book was great to introduce the series. Huff uses diverse characters that represent the Toronto area culturally and racially. It is also written from the third person. Henry Fitzroy is not allergic to garlic or mirrors but sunlight, wood and heavy loss of blood can kill him. He even summarizes how he became a vampire! It’s a really touching story once you have read it While reading the story, if you don’t know much about Toronto, you will have to research on your spare time. You will need to know these terms: TTC (Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto’s subway authority), Police Constable (police officier of the lowest rank) and Yonge Street (probably the most popular street in Toronto, what is Michigan Avenue to Chicago is Yonge Street to Toronto).

Stay tuned to the next book in the Vickie Nelson series, Blood Trail.

NOTE: There is also a paranormal television series based on the Vickie Nelson novel series, Blood Ties, playing currently on the Lifetime Channel.

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