Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Review: Dying Bites

FBI agent Jace Valchek has been pulled into an alternate reality—one where her skills at tracking down psychopaths are sorely needed.  You see, in this reality, humans lost the war:  The world’s population consists of vampires, werewolves, and golems.  Humans are less than one percent.  But one of those humans is a psychopathic killer, and this reality doesn’t know how to handle that. 

Jace’s detective skills are matched by her biting sarcasm, which manages to annoy her vampire boss, her golem bodyguard, and the werewolf doctor she finds herself warming to.  But can she track down the human psychopath who’s unafraid to use impalement, crazed dogs, and other means of torture?  If she can’t, she’ll never find her way back to her own reality. 

I liked this urban fantasy more than any other I’ve read.  The alternate reality premise intrigued my science fictional tastes.  And although there’s one brief overnight encounter, there aren’t any of the highly purplish sex scenes that are typical of the subgenre.  I don’t normally like novels about serial killers, but since it’s just vampires and werewolves getting killed, who cares? 

Jace is more than the typical female version of a hardboiled detective.  Her sardonic wisecracks in the face of danger are quite funny.  And the little touches that flesh out this alternate reality make sense—such as the cute cartoon character on the bottle of blood that she at first mistakes for tomato juice.  Overall, I would recommend this to fans of science fiction and fantasy who have been puzzled by the new, dark urban fantasy novels that have taken over their favorite bookshelves. 

(For those of you trying to get published:  Get the practice you need for writing query letters by writing reviews of books and movies in that style.  Look at the first two paragraphs of this post.  Write a lot of reviews that way, and hopefully when it comes time for you to query for your own masterpiece, you’ll know what to do by habit.)  

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