The Darkest Kiss
Dell, May 2008, $6.99
In Melbourne, Dhampire Riley Jensen takes her work as a Directorate of Other Races guardian seriously for if she did not she would be dead as her cases are dangerous since she is judge, jury, and executioner when a non-human breaks the law. Her boss Jack Parnell orders her to investigate the death of hawk shifter Gerald James, head of the Non Human Rights league that was pushing for political representation. Her partner is horse shifter Kade with wolf shifter Cole working the crime scene. Both Riley and Kade sense something is not right; Cole tells them the victim had quite a sex marathon. While scratches on the deceased’s neck look like they came from a cat. Gerald’s assistant says he was seeing Alana Burns, one of the Torrack Trollops who sell themselves to millionaires in order to live the good life.
Wolf Ben Wilson, manager of the Nonpareil striptease, calls Riley to ask her to look into the death of one of his strippers, Denny, who was into the BDSM scene and died during erotic asphyxiation. She agrees and meets Ben at Denny’s place where she senses a creature similar to a vampire, but different.
Riley investigates both cases following a trail of death. In each the clues point towards the culprits being different than the normal other races that she knows of. However, understanding the danger to herself, her beloved brother, and his soulmate, Riley continues her pursuit of two dangerously deranged unique killers.
The key to the Arthurian universe (see KISSING SIN and DANGEROUS GAMES) is that the prime supernatural species seem genuine especially dhampires, psychic vampires (the ultimate dominant), and shapeshifters. The two serial killer investigations are interesting as the opponents are super paranormals with nasty grudges that has turned deadly. Although the two killers being two different distinct species that almost no one ever heard of loses some plausibility, police procedural fantasy fans will enjoy this strong investigative tale starring a fascinating individual.