Vicious Vixen
by Shiloh Walker, paranormal (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-59998-946-8


Here's a warning, my darlings: the hero of this story is a thug while the heroine is an assassin. However, this story also deals with salvation and redemption, so it's not as if Vicious Vixens is a celebration of really bad people having the time of their life.

Graeme Mackenzie Lawson is dead. He has fallen in love with Vixen Markham ever since the day she tried to pick his pocket, and his affections do not waver as she moves up the ranks to become an assassin. Well, those affections probably waver a bit when she finally kills him that day, but still, he's still not entirely over her even in death. When Graeme is given an opportunity by the higher powers to "save" Vixen and therefore "redeem" himself, he finds himself back on Earth, in another man's body, kinda like Ghost with an opportunity to have hot sex instead of merely settling for making clay pots. The thing is, Graeme is not sure what he has to do to make things right. Perhaps meeting Vixen again will help him figure out what he has to do.

Vicious Vixen is an interesting story and I certainly do not expect the way the story turns out in the end, heh, but I also have to say that the story confuses me somewhat. You see, Graeme and Vixen are portrayed here as previously hard-hearted folks who, thanks to love, have started to feel guilt, remorse, and stuff. The message about salvation confuses me, however, because this story seems to suggest that all you need to do to redeem your sins is to get all dramatic about the sacrifices one has to carry out in the name of love. Given that we aren't talking about typical folks but rather criminals and murderers, I find it hard to believe that it is that easy to wash away the sins carried out by those people, especially when I consider how violent the climax of the story is. What, God doesn't mind if people start shooting at each other in the name of redemption and salvation? No, don't answer that, please, or we will never stop getting those emails from annoyed people out there.

Still, the story would not work if the characters are remorseless antiheroes, so I'm not sure what can be done here that will make me feel more satisfied with the story. Maybe Vixen could have been, say, a thief and she just happened to murder Graeme instead of being a professional killer? I would find the redemption aspect of the story more believable if Vixen has less blood on her hands.

Vicious Vixen is an interesting and even entertaining story. It actually wrings some emotions from me - I actually find the way the story ends a most romantic one. But I'm also not sure whether I agree with some of the things the author has done here. Still, it's her story, so I can only at the end of the day conclude that perhaps I like my cup of tea a little bit different from what Ms Walker has served in this instance.

Rating: 82


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