Sunday, August 31, 2008

“Just One Bite” by Kimberly Raye

FROM THE BOOKCOVER

THE STAKES HAVE NEVER BEEN HIGHER.

Lil Marchette, vampire extraordinaire and owner of Manhattan’s hottest hook-up service, is an expert at matching up the lonely and desperate (and sometimes dead). And thanks to the popular local reality dating show Manhattan’s Most Wanted, Lil has plenty of fresh blood to add to the mix–including the biggest, baddest vampire in the Big Apple. Vinnie Balducci, Brooklyn representative for the Snipers of Otherworldly Beings, is making Lil an offer she can’t refuse: find him the perfect woman or she’s going to be swimming with the fishes.

But Lil may not be the only one taking the plunge. The three hunky demon Prince brothers are poking around Lil’s office–hot on the trail of a rogue spirit trying to escape the land down under (not Australia) by possessing some poor, clueless human soul. Then Lil makes a startling discovery: The oblivious human vessel is none other than her loyal assistant, Evie. Between saving Evie from eternal damnation and saving herself from Vinnie’s lethal ultimatum, Lil is sure to be in for the most hellish ride of her afterlife.
Just One Bite is the fourth Dead End Dating excursion for Lil Marchette. These are admittedly frothy paranormal romantic comedies and just right for what ails you when the mood strikes. Having read all of the previous books and enjoyed them, I anticipated much the same this time around. And I did enjoy it. Sort of.

Lil’s character continues to be the same ditzy, 500 year old vampire that behaves like a shallow fashionista. A surfeit of popular culture, TV, fashion and celebrity references that would do People magazine proud are mixed with a liberal dose of witty banter and first person introspection. Lil manages to hookup the usual assortment of oddball characters with their perfect dates. And the central storyline of Evie's demon possession and eventual exorcism offers up some nice comedic moments.

Upon finishing this particular episode (note the TV-centric choice of episode), I felt as if I had viewed the standup routine of a favourite comedian one too many times. It started to lose its charm. Even knowing what to expect, I pined for some small growth and development in Lil’s character or at least a more imaginative and complex plot. Perhaps even introduction of some real angst beyond the horror of a ruined wardrobe. But alas things are what they are—leopards and spots and all that.

Moderation in all things as they say. Too much of a sweet thing lessens the enjoyment. Nevertheless Dead End Dating is as finely crafted as previous installments and Raye writes with a breezy entertaining style. If you are looking for a light romantic vampire comedy this would be a good choice. Familiarity with previous instalments is unnecessary. Fans of Mary Janice Davidson’s Queen Betsy series should also like this.

Read an excerpt here.

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