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The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod
Cover Artist: Photo: www.sorted.tv
Review by Drew Bittner
Ace Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441018710
Date: 27 April 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Genevieve Taylor's day job is cleansing places of magic for Spellcrackers.com, a firm run by witches in London. When a girl is murdered by vampires, though, she's pulled into the complex and lethal world of vampire politics and power-mongering. Even her faerie magic--and her own tangled history with vampires--may not be enough to crack this knotty problem...

In The Sweet Scent of Blood, a waitress has been murdered. Her boyfriend, a vampire known as Mr. October, has been charged with the crime. The vampire's father begs Genevieve (aka Gen) to see if the girl's body has been tampered with by magic, even though the police have confirmed otherwise; the boy's only hope is to find some magical answer to who killed his girlfriend.

But things are never that easy. Gen's investigation takes her into the vampire clubs of Soho, into conflict with her boss Finn (a satyr) and her oldest friend, Sgt. Hugh (a troll), and into harm's way as powerful vampires seem unusually interested in her.

A complication is that Gen has been marked by vampires in the past, a situation that has affected her magical abilities in critical ways. She can undo magic better than most, but her ability to harness magic is woefully limited. Even so, and even given her rarity as the only known sidhe in London, she is unprepared for the attentions of such vampire heavyweights as the Earl (who is nominally the leader of London's vampire community), the seductive Malik al-Khan. or the manipulative and feline Rio (manager of the exclusive Blue Heart vampire club). Gen has a trick or two up her sleeve, but the real struggle is figuring out who killed Melissa (the waitress), who wanted her boyfriend framed for it, and what this has to do with her.

And time is running out, as these factions are not patient--and not willing to share the ultimate prize either. If she wants to make it out alive, Gen has to figure out this riddle...and fast.

Suzanne McLeod has delivered a strong debut novel, with an engaging heroine and some intriguing angles on vampires and their politics. The story is full of challenges, obstacles and delays as Gen pursues the truth, which is exactly as it should be; no hero should ever have a smooth or predictable path to the final answers. In this case, however, Gen's own history plays as much a role as the truths she unearths, lending even more immediacy to the mystery.

Readers looking for a clever blend of subgenres (in this case, vampires and faerie folk) will be well rewarded by spending some time with the intrepid Ms. Taylor.

Recommended.

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