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Blood Memories by Barb Hendee
Review by Harriet Klausner
Roc Trade Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451462299
Date: 07 October 2008 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Eleisha Clevon looks young, beautiful, and helpless; but looks are deceiving, at least in this case. She is a two centuries plus years old vampire whose gift is insuring mortals want to take care of her. This makes it easy for her to get them alone so she can rip open their throat and drink their blood as their essence is her sustenance. Blood is the carrier for her continuation and as she dines on mortals she also sees their lives. She tries to limit her feeding to those she deems deserve death like criminals and predators, and though her heart does not beat, she cares for a senile vampire, William, who takes his blood from animals.

When the vampire Edward calls her, she senses his darkness and goes to his home in time to helplessly watch him walk into sun to die. Two policemen also saw what happened and one of them telepathically communicates with her. She races from the death scene because there is evidence of her being in Edward's home and the policemen have her license plate.

Eleisha gets William and escapes. They move from Portland to Seattle into the home of Maggie, who is also a vampire. At first her host did not want them there, but now she seems to looks upon them as family. Meanwhile Wade and his psychometric skilled partner, Dominic, search for Eleisha. Dominic has gone mad and plans to kill Eleisha and William. Wade is there to stop him when he learns what she is. Eleisha is afraid of Maggie's creators Julian and Philip who will want an accounting of the deaths of two of their own; something she cannot explain fearing what they might do to her and her compatriots.

Blood Memories is a paradox; if Barb and J.C. Hendee never wrote the superb Noble Dead saga, this novel would be fantastic. However they did and though this is a well written stand alone, it feels anemic compared to the classic. Still this is a fascinating tale with wonderful characters and delicious villains who solicit the readers into loathing them. The story line is character driven although there is plenty of action throughout.

This is closer to Stoker's Dracula mythos than the Buffy saga. Vampires lack hypnotic power so they must kill their prey as soon as they over come their target using trickery as much as force. All the vampires except Eleisha take their human feeding as their right of survival; Eleisha has moments of regret, but knows she must eat to live. In the minds of the Undead, murdering humans is an acceptable price to pay.

Each key character's history is revealed through one protagonist reading another's mind; thus the audience understands what motivates Philip, Maggie, William, and Eleisha. Fans will feel they know this cast and ironically root for them to survive but hopefully without killing; although that is unlikely. Just like in Eden, there is a serpent in the vampire garden; a genocide serial killing vampire who believes his kind must die because they possess something he lacks but desires. The vampire sub-genre will enjoy this work as an exhilarating tale of death visiting the undead.

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