The Kandesky vampires combat forces invading Ukraine while a woman contemplates joining the formidable family in this 10th installment of a series.
Jazz Fall doesn’t question her love for centuries-old vampire Nik Kandesky, which is why she agreed to marry him. But she’s understandably anxious: Jazz is a “regular” (a mortal) and wedded bliss with Nik entails becoming one of the undead. She seeks advice from her vampire pal Maxie, a former regular whose husband, Jean-Louis Kandesky, is second-in-command of the Kandeskys. Both women hold significant positions at SNAP, “the world’s largest and richest celebrity gossip empire,” which provides much of the Kandeskys’ wealth. But Jazz isn’t only worried about a drastically different vampiric life; Nik has an apparent desire to control her, a problem Maxie faced with Jean-Louis. Meanwhile, what appear to be Russian soldiers stage an attack in Odessa in Ukraine, the country where the Kandeskys live. The vampires try to determine whether the Russians’ incursion is a terrorist strike or an act of war; the latter could feasibly ignite World War III. Their quasi-investigation leads to confrontations with the invading enemy that ultimately put everyone, including Jazz, in danger. Drier (SNAP: I, Vampire, 2016, etc.) convincingly incorporates vampires into a soap-opera narrative. Jazz is comfortable with the notion of vamps; her biggest potential loss, it seems, is food, as the Kandeskys only consume blood. Though there’s little action in the tale, the author deals with violence in clever ways. For example, in one scene, Jazz experiences a gunfight and explosion by sound alone, as she takes cover inside a limo. The lucid story, centering on the couples’ relationships, makes strong points about vampires and regulars alike, particularly that both parties should be willing to compromise. But that message, at least in this installment, doesn’t wholly succeed: Jazz’s life will radically change whereas Nik will sacrifice hardly a thing.
A curious vampire tale that zeros in on the human element.