In the next few weeks I will be presenting reviews of books from years past. I had originally written these reviews in order to have them in case of I ran short of current books. However, I decided I might as well put them into the mix. I want to mention that the author recently died, but in no way was the timing of these reviews planned. I already had them scheduled months ago.
By L.A. Banks
A group of musicians tours America’s nightclub scene. Led by Damali Richards, they are also a team of elite vampire and demon hunters with extra sensory powers. After a gig one night in Philadelphia, they find themselves battling a new type of vampire threat, one targeting artists and nightclub personnel. When a personal connection to one of the members is discovered, and Damali’s powers start to rapidly mature, the team races against time to stop the force behind the killings. Meanwhile, other forces, including one close to Damali, are at work on their own evil schemes.
As I read this and explanations were revealed, I thought of a very slight parallel to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer legend. This story, however, is more serious with very subtle humor and none of the laugh out loud kind. The histories of the Huntress and of the vampires are complex, but not too confusing. This is the first of a continuing series. It was an appropriate introduction.
Damali Richards – almost 21, vampire hunter. In a band with three other members. Has all the powers of her band members
Marelene Stone– 50, Band manager, seer-guardian, has visions, able to read thoughts.
Jose aka Wizard– 30, Band member, tracker. With Jake can ‘smell’ danger in the air
Jake Rider – 45, sharpshooter
Shabazz – band member, martial arts instructor, sensor with Joe, could feel things coming and detect a location by touch
Joe Leung – 30, lighting/keyboard, sensor
Big Mike Roberts – audio sensor, demolitions
Fallon Nuit – Master vampire out of New Orleans, seeking to control the world
Carlos Rivera – Nightclub and drug king in LA. Fighting against vicious attacks against his employees. Helped Damali through her teen years on the streets. Almost a lover.
A few of the characters (band members) were a little difficult to distinguish at first, and Banks doesn’t delve too deeply into their back stories or their inner emotions. This was an introductory story, so more depth of character may follow in subsequent books.
Interesting combination of street patois and serious vampire hunting. Rider is most distinguishable in his speaking. Some of the older characters speaking as street youths was a little hard to fathom. I thought Fallon, as a master vampire, would adapt to each location and time period. For instance, I expected him to have a New Orleans accent in an early scene although he does use a bit of French later although it wasn’t necessary. In the scene with the vampire council, most of the members sounded similar and I found it difficult defining each character.
An introductory story as I’ve said. You have the obligatory action scenes to establish the kind of huntress Damali is and you get to see a little of what is coming. Banks has set up some intrigue between the ‘bad guys’ that leaves you wondering how things will sort themselves out. Not too much detail and description, just enough to get you started, although I would have liked to have a bit more on each character. Sentences flow smoothly and action scenes are well played.