Sunday, June 15, 2008

Vampire Babylon: Night Rising by Chris Marie Green

Dawn Madison is a stuntwoman whose father has disappared while investigating the sighting of a long-dead child film star. She and her Dad may not have had the best of relationships... her mom was a famous beauty, a film star who committed suicide at the height of her fame, afraid of aging and losing her beauty... but her dad was all Dawn had left, and she can't help but want to find him.

Dawn approaches the Hollywood detective agency her Dad was working for and joins her Dad's former associates, a midget Psychic and a Latina Techie-geek, working for a boss who never shows himself and communicates only through cameras and speakers, investigating the same case that her Dad was looking into when he vanished.

But the case is more bizarre than just what seems to be a kind of Elvis sighting, as the team is attacked by vampires as they approach the former home of the deceased child star. Dawn doesn't believe in vampires, but it's hard to argue that they don't exist when they are right in front of you, exhibiting their powers.

And that's not the only strange thing that Dawn will have to get used to in her new job, because Vampires are so much more... and less... than the typical Hollywood images of such creatures, and relying on stereotypes in dealing with them is likely to get her and her companions quickly killed. Soon, Dawn won't know where to turn, or if the sexy P.I. who wants to help her is all that he seems. Can Dawn trust him and her attraction to him, or is he working for the same creatures he is hunting? And for that matter, who is her boss and why is he hiding? Why does he have the power to near-hypnotize Dawn with just his voice?

This first novel sets up an interesting situation for Dawn. Thrust into mysteries of both her Dad's disappearance and the existence of vampires, we are also faced with a few other mysteries, such as who is Dawn's boss, and more importantly *what* is he, that aren't answered in this particular book, but will hopefully be answered in another book down the line.

We the readers, but not Dawn, are also privy into the "private" lives of the vampires that Dawn and crew are opposing. With one master vampire controlling the whole of the underground society... but he's only a blind for the true master, who apparently is becoming bored with life... or unlife, as that may be, and is fading somehow. We are introduced to the strange politics of the underground society, and the plight of the aforementioned former child star, who was sold into this life by his father, not realizing the hell of being 12 all your life/existence.

And the epilogue contains the most shocking secret of all, one that could impact Dawn's world in a whole new way.

I enjoyed the book. Dawn is a kickass heroine (literally, given that she is a stuntwoman), and realistically, when confronted with a ton of study materials presented to her by her new partners, manages to convince one of them to do some working out with her at a fencing studio instead. Despite Dawn's instinct to kiss ass and take names, she's usually confronted with vampire powers, and in this case, vampires don't seem to be insanely strong or fast compared to humans, but do have ferocious mind-control abilities that still make them a threat to be reckoned with.

Not only did I enjoy the book, but I am also looking forward to future books in this series, which I hope wil go some way to explaining the mysteries of what happened to her father, more workings of the underground vampire society, and the shocking secret dropped on us at the end of the book. If you enjoy non-traditional vampire books, you'll definitely enjoy this one as well.

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