Night Rising: Vampire Babylon, Book I
by Chris Marie Green
Review by Paige Roberts
Ace Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0441014674
Date: 06 February, 2007 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Dawn Madison, stunt woman and love child of the late great screen diva Eve Madison and her bar bouncer husband, Frank, has a chip on her shoulder the size of a boulder. She and her dad haven't been on the best of terms, but when his boss calls to tell her he vanished, she drops everything and runs to the rescue. Frank's mysterious boss, who Dawn calls the Voice because she never sees him, allows Dawn to step into her father's shoes in the detective agency he worked for. This unusual agency throws all of its resources into searching for Frank, and simultaneously trying to solve the case he was working on when he disappeared. While Dawn is accustomed to movie magic, when she encounters the real thing in Frank's mysterious boss, his psychic associate, Kiko, and the tough, brilliant Breisi, she has a hard time taking it all in. As she chases down clues to her father's disappearance, she finds herself deeper and deeper in a world where vampires, ghosts, and psychic attacks become all too common.
Along the way, she meets a smolderingly attractive detective who won't immediately let her drag him off for the quick hot sex that is her comfort food. He wants to take things slow, a fairly new concept to Dawn. The velvet seductive voice of the detective agency boss, on the other hand, is more than willing to turn up the heat with his own unique brand of sexuality.
At first, Dawn has difficulty dealing with the geeky but deadly Breisi, and Kiko, the psychic little person with ambitions to be a Hollywood star, but Dawn's deepening friendships with Breisi and Kiko mean that someone is always there to guard her back. It's a good thing, considering that the local vampires seem to have a big stake in her not finding her father, or figuring out why a long dead child actor appeared in a movie recently. The vampires seem more than willing to kill to keep their secrets, and Dawn must learn whole new ways to defend herself.
Night Rising is a little slow getting started, but really pulled me in once I got past the first couple of chapters. The compelling mystery keeps the pages turning, and the action sequences make the journey exciting. The budding romance with the detective and the jealous rivalry and mysterious nature of Dawn's boss make for a tasty romance fix. The character of Dawn seems a bit overdone, following the trend toward Anita Blake carbon copy heroines, oversexed and filled with bristly attitude and poorly hidden insecurities. Kiko, on the other hand, I found to be a refreshingly fun and unique person, and Breisi broke a few molds, herself. While Dawn became more and more attached to the endearing quirks of Kiko, I found myself also falling for the small courageous man. Overall, Night Rising has a lot to recommend it, solid action and mystery, an interesting setting in the back lots and business aspects of Hollywood's film industry, and some truly unusual and endearing characters.