In the second installment of Walters’ (York Street, 2014, etc.) supernatural-thriller series, a police detective and his ghostly relative go up against vampires in Des Moines, Iowa.
Detective Brett O’Shea’s no stranger to the supernatural. He previously tracked a not-quite-human serial killer with the aid of his great-grandfather Detective Michael O’Shea—who’s been dead for more than 80 years. But Brett has trouble believing the story of Historical Preservation Society president John Allen, who claims that, following his discovery of 14th-century tombs, vampires are now loose in the city. John’s only real piece of evidence was a severed, bloodless finger that’s mysteriously vanished. Dead, drained bodies, however, do turn up with their throats ripped apart. Brett tries to prevent John from publicly attributing these additional murders to vampires and inciting a panic. But he’s also leery when he meets a pale gentleman named Dragos Eldridge. It turns out that Dragos only recently awakened after two centuries with a newfound thirst for the red stuff. His family and friends are all long dead, and his undeniable misery generates sympathy from Brett and Michael, who take him on as a houseguest. But if Dragos isn’t behind the killings, the detectives will need to find and stop the other vampires who may be out there. This novel’s combination of adult sequences and YA–style moments can be bizarre at times; vampire violence and short, explicit sex scenes, for example, coexist with a scene of Brett taunting Dragos with loud kissing sounds when he’s on the phone with a new love interest. Nevertheless, a sense of slow but unmistakable menace galvanizes the plot, which further saddles Brett with a personal dilemma: his reporter girlfriend Lisa Winslow’s new job offer could be the catalyst for a breakup. As in the preceding novel in the series, Michael makes the most of his appearances, typically scaring other characters when he suddenly materializes among them. His old-school ways (including a perpetually worn fedora) and sometimes-antiquated vernacular (such as calling Lisa “Missy”) are consistently charming.
A solid mystery featuring otherworldly good and bad guys, which primes its readers for future series entries.