I've actually been reading a bit quicker this week; I'm currently reading books 3 and 4 for the week, even though two of those were review books. I had the pleasure of reviewing the third book in Gerry Bartlett's Glory St. Clair series, REAL VAMPIRES GET LUCKY. I won't bore anyone with that review, but if you're interested, you can hop on over to Romance Reviews Today where my review will be posted sometime this week.
I'm trying to wrap up I BID ONE AMERICAN by Amy Corwin from Wild Rose Press, and am actually enjoying the torment of sitting here at the computer to read a book. I so need to get a PDA or handheld reader of some sort.
I did finish GARDEN OF DARKNESS by Anne Frasier earlier last week, which was a total record for me since it only took two days for me to read it. A friend of mine had asked me about this book a few weeks ago when she'd bought it without reading PALE IMMORTAL, the prequel of sorts. Since I hadn't read GARDEN...yet, I figured I might as well get it out and try it since I'm a huge fan of Anne Frasier's suspense books. But, wow, this one was different in nature, tone, and what I felt was a total departure from the rest of her books. It seemed almost horror-like in genre, which I'm not a fan of at all. But Anne Frasier put her own spin on it, and created one of the creepiest vampires to ever haunt this earth.
From the blurb:
"Rachel Burton tried to leave, but the killing brought her back. The skinned body was found in the woods just as Rachel -- the town medical examiner -- was driving out of Tuonela for good, or so she thought. Now her baby will be born here, and the betrayal of Evan Stroud - the man she's always loved, the man who can never see the light of day - will continue to haunt her waking and sleeping hours.
Others are coming to Tuonela, drawn to the legend of the Pale Immortal, the so-called vampire whose exhumed body is now on display. And others will die. As Evan succumbs to madness, those around him will suspect the worst of him. But nothing he is rumored to be will compare to the one who has been awakened..."
It's a mouthful, but it's a page turner to be sure. GARDEN OF DARKNESS even squicked me out a few times, so why did I enjoy it so much (I have said before that I'm a sicky)? I'm not a fan of Stephen King or Dean Koontz and I've never read an Anne Rice novel, so I guess you could say this book was horror with training wheels. Maybe. The author might consider that insulting, but I mean it kindly, honest. I could still feel the romantic element that Ms. Frasier seems to stick to in her books, although this is not a book for straight romance fans. Her characters here have basically hit rock bottom and realize that they'll never be able to leave Tuonela, something always draws them back. But with Rachel's pregnancy, hope may be found in bringing new life to the freakiest town I've ever read about.
A group of college kids are in town to film a documentary of sorts, but secretly they don't take it seriously at all. Until the deaths of arbitrary people stop cropping up. Is it wolves ravaging humans, or is there a darker power at work here? And why does it seem like the exhumed Pale Immortal's body on display in Tuonela's tiny little museum watches everyone with his hollow eyesockets, biding his time to do...well, whatever?
If you've read PALE IMMORTAL, than you may be a bit shocked when you see Evan Stroud again. He's totally become possessed in his promise to dig up Old Tuonela's secrets. Now that he's living in Richard Manchester, the Pale Immortal's, own mansion, Evan is on a mission to dig, literally, until he unearths hopefully the graves and journals of the women murdered at the hand of Manchester. And this is where my comparison to King and Koontz comes in -- Evan is not the same man he used to be. It almost seems as if he believes that he is the Pale Immortal. How else would he feel a kinship to him?
Like I said -- weird. But definitely worth the read. But now I need to rinse my mouth out and immerse myself in the Corwin review, where the worst thing that can happen is a popped lace on a corset. Or another society debutante killed at the hands of a ne'er do well.