Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Review: Blood Trail (Vickie Nelson #2)

“Someone was out to exterminate Canada’s most endangered species – the werewolf!”

Blood Trail, by Tanya Huff, is the second book in the Blood series. The setting is contemporary (1990s) London and Toronto, two major Canadian cities in the province of Ontario. Four months have passed since the last supernatural case. It’s a very humid and hot August. Victoria “Vicki” Nelson, former cop and current private investigator, has another case on her hands more wild and strange than she has ever imagined. Henry Fitzroy, 450-year-old vampire needs her help to save his friends, Rose (Cloud) and Peter (Storm). Despite her deteriorating eyesight (retinitis pigmentosa) that leaves her virtually blind at night, her knowledge and skills are needed to find the killer. Vicki heads to London.

His friends are not quite human. They are werewolves, the Heerkens. Despite their human appearances and their sheep farm in London, they have very animalistic behaviors: a strong sense of smell, calloused hands, and strong reflexes. Someone has shot two family members of the pack unnoticed at night, and they want justice immediately – by their court of law. As Vicki accepts the case and checks the property, she loses her way in the forest and finds another house nearby. She meets Carl Biehn and his nephew, Mark Williams. The two men, especially Mark Williams, made her nervous although they couldn’t possibly be the shooters killing the pack with a high-caliber rifle. Carl Biehn is a kind and religious old gentleman, while his young nephew is just self-absorbed with his material things and arrogant attitude.

Meanwhile, police detective-sargeant, Mike Celluci, has a grudge over Henry Fitzory. As Nelson’s former police partner and ex-lover, he knows very little about this new man in Vicki’s life. Showing signs of anxiety and jealousy, he searches records and interviews people who may know him. Despite Fitzroy’s literary career, Celluci concludes Henry is involved in “organized crime.” Fearing for Nelson’s safety, he grabs the keys and drives to London. In the Heerkens’ home, Henry wishes that he can spend more time with Vicki, and he begins to have sexual (and hunger) feelings for her. Since the nights are shorter during the summer months, he spends less time with Vicki, which leaves her with this case solely on her own with the werewolves. Can Mike and Henry get along once they meet each other? Can Vicki settle the jealous tensions in both man’s eyes?

As the case seems like a dead-end without leads, events become even messier. Henry becomes hurt searching for the killer. Another member of the pack is shot in the field. Vicki, Rose and Peter are almost killed in an unnatural automobile accident. Someone knows about the werewolves. Vicki must find the trail that leads to their killer before it’s too late.

Altough I thought the second book of this series would endlessly bore me (I did not care for the previous book), this book surprised me with fear, jealousy, and suspense. I simply LOVED this novel! At 304 pages, I think Huff finally realized what chemistry she was missing from her first book. Some readers might be disappointed that Henry appears less (it’s summer, and the days are longer than the nights, so vampires can’t do much!) , but his interactions with Mike Celluci and Vicki Nelson are quite memorable. I never imagined the jealousy scene between both men! Pure genius!

Stay tuned for the next book in the Blood series, Blood Lines.

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