Tuesday, October 21, 2008

“Bite Me” by Parker Blue

FROM THE BOOKCOVER:
My kid sister shrugged, trying to act nonchalant. "Dad might not like it if you get vampire blood in his trunk."

I slammed the trunk shut. "He's used to it. Besides, the blood will disintegrate along with the rest of the body when sunlight hits it."

Barely eighteen-year-old heroine Valentine Shapiro got a raw deal in the parent lottery. Her father was part incubus demon, and her mother's never forgiven her for that.

Life after high school is tough enough without having to go 15 rounds with your inner demon. Thrown out of the house by her mother, Val puts one foot in front of the other and does the only thing that seems to make any sense--she takes aim at the town vampires. A stake a day, keeps the demon at bay. (But don't call her Buffy. That makes Lola, her demon, very cranky.)

Her dark side makes everyday life a roller coaster, but means she's perfect for her night job as a bounty hunter. San Antonio's vampires are out of control, and it's up to Val, her faithful hellhound Fang, and her new partner, a handsome San Antonio police detective, to get the deadly fangbangers off the city streets.

Soon enough she finds herself deep in the underbelly of the city, discovering the secrets of the Demon Underground and fighting to save those she loves. Whether they love her back or not.
This week I am delighted to be reviewing a new line of YA urban fantasy books from Belle Bridge Books (Bite Me by Parker Blue, Moonstone by Marilee Brothers and later, Once Bitten by Kalayna Price).

First up is Bite Me by Parker Blue, an exciting new YA urban fantasy and the first book in The Demon Underground series.

Val is your typical outsider teenager. She doesn’t fit in. She has few friends other then her sister Jennifer. She’s been home schooled. Why? Because she is part demon—a succubus in fact and needs to disguise her true nature. The general public knows nothing about the supernatural creatures among them. She calls the demon part of herself Lola. To satisfy her demons lustful cravings, she seeks out and kills vampires. Otherwise losing control could mean hurting the ones she loves.

And just as Val turns eighteen her already complicated life becomes more so. Her family asks her to move out to protect her younger sister from her influence. Sixteen year old Jen is fascinated by vampires and would like to be like her older sister, but she is plain human and not equipped for the dangers. Val is even fired from her job at the family bookstore. She’s on her own, confused, unhappy and angry.

Fortunately not all of her luck has deserted her. While staking a vampire in the park to vent her frustration she encounters a stray terrier, a loner like herself that is part demon—a mongrel hellhound in fact. Fang as he calls himself, is intelligent, telepathic and can smell vampires, in other words a perfect partner for a part demon vampire hunter.

Needing a job, Val contacts Dan Sullivan, a police detective from the Special Cases Unit that investigates supernatural crime, to see if he might have some work for her. Before you know it she is the squads’ newest recruit and Dan’s partner and her life sets out in a new direction.

Parker Blue has created a smart, sympathetic character facing a host of unique challenges. How Val responds to these demands is depicted in realistic terms and hits just the right note for an inexperienced, but strong young women. Along the way she deals with an emerging relationship with her partner, evolving powers and a family placed in jeopardy.

Moral ambiguity is introduced early on placing troublesome demands on the team. Val starts out believing all vampires are evil and should be staked, but as events proceed it becomes less clear that this is so. If a vampire was decent as a human would they not remain that way? This extra subtlety is often overlooked even in non-YA novels and adds essential complexity to the story.

Above all, Bite Me is an entertaining, police procedural mystery with loads of action and witty banter. Val’s’ adventures take her into an unrealized world of the supernatural, whose depths she is only just beginning to understand. Engaging for readers of all ages, this new YA urban fantasy is recommended. I look forward to Parker Blue’s next ‘Demon Underground’ tale with Val, Dan and Fang. You will too.

Author and Book Showcase

Official Parker Blue Website

Book 1 in the Demon Underground series.
Read an
Excerpt.

Belle Bridge Books
Available: October 2008
ISBN #: 978-0-9802453-8-7


Watch the book trailer.




10 comments:

  1. I'm so happy you got a chance to read this as well! Great review. :)

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  2. Hmm sounds interesting. What other issues do you think most vampire writers leave out or do not choose to elaborate on? Mine is the how. Most vampire writers fall back on magic or the super natural without given an explanation as to how their vampire powers work and how their vampire bodies differ from humans, like processing blood.

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  3. I just got "Bite Me" in the mail today... I don't read a whole lot of YA, but the fact that Lola doesn't like being compared to Buffy makes it sound like it's worth the time to check it out.

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  4. Thanks Kimberley!

    Grace the 'how' is a pretty iffy proposition. Using too much scientific rationalisation might take the story out of fantasy into science fiction. The best scientific explanation I have seen used for vampires is Lynsay Sands 'nanos'. In Bite Me the vamps are traditional. Magic works for me, but it is always great when an author finds a new twist on the old themes.

    Hey SQT, yeah the Buffy reference is pretty much a humorous nod to the character.

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  5. Well then, do you think scifi vamps tend to be less interesting than fantasy vamps? Are there any in particular that stand out as being too fantasy or too scifi?

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  6. PS: Was the Lindsay Sands reference Scifi or Fantasy? and does scifi rationalization have a tendency to take the "bite" out of vampire stories?

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  7. Great review! I really dig the covers of these Bell Bridge books. I hope BITE ME finds a wide YA audience.

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  8. I agree. The covers set the books apart from the usual urban fantasy fair. Belle Bridge has a very talented group of YA writers.

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  9. Hey Grace. The Lynsay Sands is an urban fantasy. Vampires are not really a subject addressed in scifi except perhaps for The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, a story about alien psychic vampirism. And when reading fantasy you can't apply science or else you would end up criticizing the believability of just about everything. It's fun to see an author come up with an explanation though.

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  10. Thanks. I’m with you, I enjoy a well thought out and believable explanation.

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