What is Blood Vice?
With her partner’s killer still on the loose, Jenna vows to continue their investigation until justice is served, but a werewolf squatter, an unexpected visit from her estranged sister, and a nosy FBI agent stand in her way. Not to mention her fresh aversion to sunlight and a thirst for something a little stiffer than revenge.
I admit I was not initially expecting much from BLOOD VICE by Angela Roquet. I got it on sale from Bookbub but didn’t initially read it. Basically, it looked like a vampire themed police procedural and while that is my jam, it isn’t automatically something I had to dig into. I met my wife on the Laurell K. Hamilton forums back when they still existed on her website and was a huge fan of the Blood books by Tanya Huff. I really regret not getting into these books sooner as not only did I enjoy the first book but I binged most of the nine-book series immediately thereafter.
The premise is Jenna Skye is investigating a human trafficking ring (which turns out to be werewolf girls kept drugged to the gills) when her partner is killed. She is also killed but manages to be resurrected when she’s rescued by a giant dog that happens to eat her attacker in such a way that gets some blood in her mouth. Awakening as one of the undead, she finds herself having to deal with her identical twin, the secret society of the undead, and the fact her ex-boyfriend is the county coroner and there when she wakes up in the morgue.
The Blood Vice series is definitely what I would call “cozy urban fantasy” versus vampire horror or even a detective series. The vampires have their sharp edges (fangs at least) but they’re not monsters. They’re not portrayed as a strict power fantasy, though, like the undead in Twilight. Just how life-destroying becoming a corpse during the day and exploding in sunlight is shown to be a major concern. Plus, getting blood is enough of a focus that you understand there’s hardships with the (minor) power boosts.
I am a firm believer that when writing vampire fiction, every advantage has to come with a disadvantage. You can write vampires are pretty people with powers but the downsides generate the drama and angst. Here, the angst is mostly the fact that our heroine is desperately afraid of losing her job due to the daytime requirements as well as the fact that she finds the prospect of drinking blood to be utterly gross.
Jenna is a likable enough protagonist and flawed in a very realistic and entertaining way. She really didn’t ask for any of this vampire nonsense and her attempt to get her life back to the way it “normally” is, is doomed to failure. She’s still traumatized by the recent passing of her mother and not good with any sort of change in general. I also am a huge fan of her soap opera star twin sister, Laura, who is everything Jenna is not but still entertaining.
The book’s strength is how grounded it is compared to other examples of urban fantasy. Being a vampire is, itself, enough to make the book interesting without deluging the reader in other types of supernaturals. Yes, Mandy is a werewolf, yes, but that is about the length of weirdness that our heroine encounters.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed Blood Vice and recommend people check it out. The first book is free and that’s always a great price for starting a new series. As mentioned, I binged the entire series after reading the original so it made a great impression on me. If you’re looking for a fun easy read about vampires, this is a great series to read.