A solid, enduring, addictive vampire epic with great potential that readers should be thrilled to sink their teeth into.




A vampire yarn combines passion, melodrama, and a legacy of bloodlust.

In this opening installment of his vampire saga, entrepreneur and prolific fantasy novelist Perlow (Golden Dragons, Gilded Age, 2015, etc.) finds inspiration in the Gothic environs of New Orleans, creating a world where two factions dominate. Spectavi vampires are a well-organized cabal, led by overlord Edmond, who drink synthetic blood, while the Sanguans are hunters, purely liberated, who crave the real thing. Sanguan vampire Ethan roams the streets, quenching his thirst. The love of his life, Ellie, a mortal who refused to become a vampire, lies dying in a coma, and he is determined to find a cure through a unique blood type that has curative, regenerative properties. This extraordinary blood belongs to recently divorced John Breen, a tall, thin mortal traveling across Europe to soothe his broken heart at Sanguan nightclubs, where he enjoys the bites of random vampires who relish his exclusive plasma. He becomes known in vampire circles as the man with “blood like that of a god,” and there’s a race between factions to access his lifesaving fluid. He meets Vera, a Spectavi scientist, who becomes embroiled in his situation, which turns complicated once he learns of his “savior” status and the medical impact his blood could have on the terminally ill. In a singular twist, blood drinking also affords vampires the ability to absorb the host’s memories, which adds tension to the frantic intent to obtain John’s blood. Character-driven and written with brio and an obvious love of everything vampiric, this tale does an expert job of conjuring a fantasy world, incorporating the eternally warring factions—with vivid tidbits about sexless, coffin-dwelling vampires—and tracing the moves of a population that harbors centuries of rich, dramatic histories and for which love and life still reign supreme. An intriguing back story embellishes the main plot with lush details and centuries-old lore about blood lineages, long-held animosities, and the struggle for social dominance. As the story evolves, Ethan turns violently desperate to save his true love, as other characters become enmeshed in the plot with their fangs out. This genre-reviving inaugural entry is cleverly paced and plotted with serpentine flourishes and enough action and romance to satisfy fans of Anne Rice as well as fantasy readers.

A solid, enduring, addictive vampire epic with great potential that readers should be thrilled to sink their teeth into.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018


Page Count: 302

Publisher: Bealion Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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