Blood Secrets by Vivi Anna
A young human woman is found ritualistically murdered in a downtown Necropolis hotel. It is up to Caine Valorian, a 200-year-old vampire, and his Otherworld Crime Unit to solve the unusual crime, and quickly before the human press can jump onto the story and cause a panic. To add to their already tough case, a new member, Eve Grant, transfers to their lab at the request of the mayor. Not only is she green and eager to impress the boss, but she's human. The first human ever to work in an Otherworld unit. The mayor thought it would be great press especially now with the strange human murder.I bought this as an ebook ages ago because I found the idea of CSI crossing over with vampires to be an intriguing idea. It then sat on my PDA while I read other things. I found that I wanted something short and hopefully relatively simple to help me come down after the high of Kage Baker's Company series and remembered this. It fit the bill perfectly.
Caine has his work cut out for him, especially with his unruly team who don't appreciate any help from a human. Not only is this the toughest case of his career, but he's unusually attracted to the new girl, which can only cause trouble for them all. However, as they sink deeper and deeper into the workings of the case, Caine and Eve become closer and closer. So close that neither of them can see past each other and at the real happenings behind the scenes. The more they poke and prod at the case, the more they realize that something is going on, that this murder is only one step toward a greater purpose. Someone in the Otherworld community is calling on dark forces, in a plot to wipe out the entire human population.
It's a Silhouette Nocture book, meaning it's a little shorter than your average single title, but Anna packs a full story into her word count. I did find the forensics aspect of the case to be rather on the light side - this is a story about the characters, and mainly Caine and Eve at that, not the science. So if you're looking for a crime thriller, you'll need to find another book.
All the same, it was the pleasant and easy read I was wanting. The world set up is interesting - I find that idea of a whole, fortified city of supernatural creatures - which at this point means vampires, werewolves and witches - that the world doesn't know about to be a little hard to swallow, but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief on that aspect.
I found Caine to be a more realised character than Eve (often the case in romances it seems, as if the author spends all their creative energy on the hero and doesn't have a lot left for the heroine). He had a past, a history and a solid personality, whereas she seemed to spend a lot of time rushing in to volunteer for things unwisely in order to prove herself. All the same, she wasn't annoying and her actions might have occasionally been reckless but they didn't go as far as being all out stupid.
The presence of a shadowy villain whom the reader knows exists, while the characters are not so sure, suggests this is the first in a series. And indeed, Dark Lies comes out in October. I'm still deciding if I'll buy it. If I want another "pleasant and easy read" I'm sure it will qualify. It will just depend on my budget.