Mercy Of These Bones
by Vivien Dean, paranormal (2007)
Liquid Silver Books, $6.10, ISBN 978-1-59578-392-9


Is that Jason Mamoa on the cover of Vivien Dean's Mercy Of These Bones? Does Mr Mamoa know that he has a new career as a cover model now that his post-Baywatch acting gig is pretty much down for the count? I hope I will get a cover involving a naked Mr Mamoa and fellow official has-been Mario Lopez also naked in a spectacular clinch action soon.

Mercy Of These Bones is a naughty urban fantasy tale covering vampires, threesome action, and some vampire politics. We have Mathias who is on the run from that nasty female vampire he'd sired. Look up Rule #45 in the Humongously Big Book Of Urban Fantasy Clichés: unless the female vampire in question is the heroine or a potential heroine in a potential future book, she is going to be one mean evil psychopath. Edmund is Mathias' sire and lover until Mathias decides to give up beef for a while and develop a taste for tuna. Poor Darby Bell, our very human heroine and the unsuspecting buddy of Edmund, will soon realize that dealing with complicated accounting software is the least of her problems. Not when "Mat Larsen" makes his entrance in Las Vegas just as the dead bodies start to pile up. The vampire lawmakers - called the Assembly in this story - are not amused while the local cops are on red alert. The party, folks, is only getting started.

I have mixed feelings about Mercy Of These Bones, mostly because the three characters on their own are fine but when they come together, there is something about the chemical equation that doesn't feel right.

Mathias on his own is a very attractive bad boy. He's not some woobie character with a misunderstood past, he's just this roguish bad boy, somewhat like Lestat before Anne Rice decided that Lestat would discover and embrace Jesus along with her. Edmund is a pretty boring next guy when he's with Darby, but Mathias brings out the forceful loverboy in him that turns him into a much more interesting character. Darby has a pretty nicely done camaraderie with Mathias outside the bedroom, but she's not as interesting when she's with Edmund.

As a result, there are times when I wish Darby and Mathias are the main characters and Edmund will go take a hike. At other times, I wish Darby will take a hike and let the two men do their thing. Sometimes I think Mathias deserves his own story and leave Edmund and Darby to do their thing without him eclipsing them with his comparatively larger-than-life personality. Also, Darby's attraction to the two vampires feel forced as it is introduced in an "as it is" manner that seems designed to have her holding parties for three in her boudoir. Likewise, Mathias is initially attracted to Darby just because the author tells me so. Therefore, while I can see why two people in the party of three will be attracted to each other, I don't see any credible reason, hormonal or emotional, for all three to stick together and find some kind of happy ending in a big happy ménage manner.

The other aspects of the story are fine, although there isn't anything particularly new or memorable here that I haven't come across in one way or the other in urban fantasy tales featuring vampires. Mercy Of These Bones is a readable story that is more than adequate for a few hours of passing the time pleasantly, but there is something lacking in the chemistry among all three characters in this story that causes me to feel unmoved by the emotional/erotic aspects of the story.

Rating: 78


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