“Val opened her mouth to retort, but before she could speak, her nostrils filled with the scent of blood. Not a bright, fresh-from-the-vein smell. This was old, congealing, like blood left to pool in a dark place and forgotten. She wanted to retch as her taste buds kicked in and helpfully supplied the rancid companion to the smell.”
If something creeps out a vampire, that’s not a good sign. Val is my favorite character in Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy. Val is fabulous looking, and I believe she seems about thirty, though she’s really somewhat older. That scent she’s smelling is of a Jackal, an enemy she thought she left behind years ago.
The novel actually starts with Elly, who I think is about nineteen. She comes fleeing into town with Creeps close behind her. (We find out the Jackals and the Creeps are the same thing.) Elly is a streetfighter who likes to use her favorite stake when things go down.
You can probably guess which is which
The Jackals are hard to describe. They give off a rotten stench, but they are intelligent, so they’re not like zombies. Their faces transform so that they have snouts, but they don’t fully transform like werewolves. And they’re irredeemably evil, so it’s fun to read about them getting killed.
The rest of the characters mostly center about the off-campus bookstore that Val runs. She was hoping to lead the quiet life there. But then Elly comes to town. I like how they meet: Through a little misunderstanding, they try to kill each other.
This novel has multiple viewpoints, and the only one I didn’t like was that of Chaz, Val’s Renfield. Believe it or not, I didn’t like to read his viewpoint sections because of his frequent casual swearing. And he seems to remind us about a dozen times that he’s Val’s Renfield.
But I like Lauren M. Roy’s Night Owls. There’s an interesting plot involving the Creeps/Jackals, and it all comes down to a good ol’ hand-to-hand, hand-to-stake and burning wards battle.