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008 Moon Dance (Vampire for Hire, Book 1) by J.R. Rain
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Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-03-21 20:00:29 UTC
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008 Moon Dance (Vampire for Hire, Book 1) by J.R. Rain

I have to say I was disappointed in this book, which from the
description sounded exactly like one I would really like.

Samantha Moon is an ex-Federal agent, who, after a mysterious assult
six years ago, is now a vampire. (Vampires are not known in this
setting -- she pretends to have a rare sun-sensitive skin condition).
Unable to work her former day job, she has set herself up as a PI.
She is pretty good at her new job, but her condition is gradually
causing her marriage to fall apart, and there is every possibility
her husband will take the kids and leave. In the meantime, she has
come to believe that her latest client may be a werewolf and there
are indications that other unknown players are becoming aware of
her.

First of all, before I get into spoilers, it was just very flat and
lifeless. I could tell after a few minutes that the author hiding
behind first initials was a man, and that his heroine was trying
to deal with issues that he just couldn't put across. The characters
of her children never really came across, nor did the strength of
her supposed emotional bond with them. Similarly, it seemed at
times she was just watching her marriage fall apart rather than
feeling it.

Second, it was hard to like her at times. This is a fine line to
walk, but it can be done. Stacia Kane's Chess Putnam does horrible
things sometimes and fails herself and others but remains a rootable
character. In the case of Samantha Moon, it just comes across as
her being a jerk. For instance, at one point (minor spoiler not
related to the plot), she kicks a man in the balls for no better
reason than she didn't like something someone else told her he said.
He didn't grope her, come on to her, or even speak to her, just
made a comment to a third party. You can't go around assulting
people for stuff like that.

Third, Samantha was never in any real danger at any point in the
book. Maybe that works for a "cozy" mystery, but not a hardboiled
one, which this basically is.

Fourth, the book just seems.. slight. This is both in terms of
length, which struck me as very short (though I did not check the
pagecount) and plot which was neither complicated nor partularly
engaging.

SPOILERS START HERE

Finally, I just did not believe the identity of the murderer. Moon
had made a point of mentioning her large, surgically augmented
breasts several times, so I did not find it at all credible that
she made the attempt on Moon's client while dressed as a man and
nobody noticed either in person or on the video(!) that she was not
in fact a man.
Ahasuerus
2020-03-22 18:30:17 UTC
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Post by Ted Nolan <tednolan>
008 Moon Dance (Vampire for Hire, Book 1) by J.R. Rain
I have to say I was disappointed in this book, which from the
description sounded exactly like one I would really like.
[snip-snip]

I read the first 4 books in the series a couple of years ago. My
reaction was somewhat more favorable than yours:

"The kind of urban fantasy novel that I am interested in in theory,
but haven’t found a good implementation of yet. ...

The prose was serviceable, but the imagery didn’t work for me and
it felt flat. A number of times the flat quality of the prose
reminded me that I was reading a novel instead of being there with
the characters.

On the plus side, there were many “exploring my new abilities” touches
which I was after. The execution wasn’t terribly exciting, but it kept
me reading. Overall it was a positive experience, I just wish the
author was a better craftsman."

I thought that volume 2 was more of the same while volumes 3 and 4
took the series in a direction that I didn't find either believable
or enjoyable, so I dropped it.

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