Saturday, September 20, 2008

“Dark Harvest” by Lynda Hilburn

FROM THE BOOKCOVER:
Denver psychologist Kismet Knight counsels vampires. Her life changed forever when she discovered a dark preternatural underworld and became involved with gorgeous, eight-centuries-old Devereux, the powerful leader of a vampire coven.

Still adjusting to her new role as an expert on all things paranormal—as well as her unexpected notoriety and new clientele—she schedules what she believes is simply another radio interview. She couldn’t be more mistaken. Not only does the radio host behave very strangely, but an ominous, on-air call turns Kismet’s world upside-down—again.

Shortly thereafter, Maxie Westhaven, a tabloid newspaper reporter in search of a juicy story, befriends Kismet, leading her into a bizarre world of role players, lost souls, and death. Enter Victoria Essex, Devereux’s building manager and resident witch, who discloses a startling secret of her own.

Meanwhile, Luna, Devereux’s hostile, femme fatale personal assistant recognizes a perfect opportunity to throw a wrench into her boss’s blossoming relationship with the human psychologist and, to complicate matters further, Kismet’s old boyfriend, self-absorbed psychologist Tom Radcliffe, shows up with his own outlandish request.
Dark Harvest is a follow-up to Hilburns’ debut novel The Vampire Shrink [2007]. This vampire urban fantasy is a much stronger book and thoroughly entertaining.

One of the refreshing things about the Kismet Knight character is that she is not an action hero. No knives, guns, swords or other accoutrements. Just her sharp mind and an independent spirit. These traits of course manage to get her into and sometimes out of trouble. Also refreshing is her easy acceptance of gifts from her vampire lover Devereux such as her new office space in his ultra-modern building and a flourishing wardrobe. Kismet doesn’t angst over these things, but saves her energy to counter Devereux’s old-world controlling and protective nature. The dynamic between the two is quite engaging.

Hilburn populates her series with fascinating, extroverted characters. Every scene with tabloid reporter Maxie is a treat and Victoria, the witch has hidden depths that invite exploration and of course the absurd egomaniacal sex-obsessed Tom is a hoot. The vampires surrounding Devereux are an eclectic bunch as well, from the doorman Ankh to Prospero.

In Dark Harvest, Hallow the oldest vampire on the planet has come to Denver and is fixated on Kismet. He is a slayer, killing other vampires merely for his own amusement, and is thoroughly evil and assuredly insane. He can exert incredibly subtle mind control over humans and is a master at manipulation. In other words a really, really nasty bad guy.

Targeted by his psychic attentions, Kismet’s personality becomes fractured. A more base, primal version of Kismet emerges – an aggressively sexual and uninhibited alter ego. Her struggle with her loss of control, her inner dialogue, and her actions make for some of the best passages in the story.

The author succeeds in making Dark Harvest a very dark and a frequently violent story but perfectly counterbalances it with just the right touch of humour. There is plenty of action and the climactic confrontation with Hallow is explosive. Sex, murder, mystery, vampire powers and thrills and chills make Dark Harvest one of the most interesting urban fantasy/paranormal romance reads this year. Highly recommended.

Read an excerpt here.

And for fun view the book trailer for The Vampire Shrink.



4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for your great review of my book! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. (It's especially satisfying when a reader/reviewer "gets" my intentions for the book!) I'm smiling.
    Best, Lynda Hilburn

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  2. Wow. Thanks for stopping by. Really appreciate the feedback and certainly hope you have more Kismet novels planned.

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  3. I ordered Vampire Shrink from my library and now I'm just waiting for it to arrive!

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  4. LOVED both books, i would very much love to read more books with these characters.
    Kismet is an awesome woman and Devereux.............well what can i say about him, i want one too...LOL

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