by Jennifer Turner, paranormal (2008)
Darkness Within Novels, $12.99, ISBN 978-1-4404-2206-5
In Jennifer Turner's debut effort Eternal Seduction, we meet our homeless junkie heroine Logan Ellis. The poor dear is so down on her luck that she has to resort to mugging old women who have emerged from strip clubs for money. New York City sure isn't the way it used to be in those Frank Sinatra movies, sigh. Logan also knows that vampires exist in the city. The cops don't believe her, but she has seen them bash each other on the streets and feed on the unwary.
It is inevitable, therefore, she comes across Kerestyan Nelek, the boss of all vampires in the city, and he is not amused that a human is running around knowing that they exist. I'd think he would be more concerned about his vampires having public brawls in the alleys if he is so hung up on secrecy, but hey, no one says that being a vampire means that you are also a genius, no? Kerestyan decides to make Logan the guest in his home - not that she has much choice in the matter - as he thinks about what he should do with her. Thus begins Logan's initiation into the world of the vampires.
Despite the saucy cover art, this story is actually more humorous than erotic. Think of Lynsay Sands' Arganeau vampire series, say, and you'd quite the closest basis of comparison for this story. Then again, I doubt Lynsay Sands would ever have a homeless heroin addict play the heroine in her stories, heh. This story can be quite amusing in that we have a bunch of ancient vampires getting the heroine to quit her addiction and get her life back on track. Indeed, while there may be some vampire intrigue in this story, Eternal Seduction is mostly Logan's story.
I like Ms Turner's treatment of Logan in this story. She doesn't turn Logan into a woe-is-me Moaning Minnie constantly asking me to pity her - she portrays Logan without turning Logan's sad story into a melodrama. I feel that Logan's heroin addiction is played down a little too much to be realistic, especially considering that she is supposed to be at an advanced stage of addiction, but still, I can appreciate what Ms Turner has tried to do here with her heroine. Kerestyan is also an interesting hero in that he is an authority figure who is also a nice fellow when the mood strikes him. He's somewhat like Captain Nemo without the erratic mood swings.
The setting is interesting too, as Ms Turner has tried to and succeeded quite well to introduce her own take on familiar vampire lore. Ms Turner also has the right idea of using conversations in place of outright exposition narrative to let the reader in on the canon of her story.
But I do have a complaint though: the author doesn't quite get the balance between plot and exposition right here. For a long time, especially in the middle portion, I feel as if the story has taken a backseat to scenes meant to introduce me to the world of these vampires. While I don't particularly mind as I find the concepts and the secondary characters interesting and even entertaining in their own right, I also find that the way the action gets ramped up in the late parts of the story causes that part of the story to feel really rushed.
I also wish this story has been better edited and proofread. There are some odd choice of phrases here and there that don't make sense - "fading into view" on page 8 which is used to describe the hero's grand entrance, for example. There are also some words that are used wrongly, such as "ebbing" being used to describe a character's increasing anger. The frequency of such boo-boo isn't high enough to completely pull me out of the story, but... well, let's just say that these mistakes are quite obvious and do stand out when the reader comes across them.
Eternal Seduction is an interesting read, although it's also quite rough around the edges when it comes to issues like pacing. I feel that Ms Turner has the right idea and shows ample promise here, and I'm definitely intrigued enough by what I read here to want to find out more about her future offerings.
This book is available in both dead tree and electronic formats, with the electronic format priced at $5.99 while the dead tree version is priced at $12.99. Go to http://www.darknesswithinnovels.com/books.html for more details.
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