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Dying Bites: The Bloodhound Files by D. D. Barant
Review by Beth Slater
St. Martin's Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312942588
Date: 30 June 2009 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Jace Valchek’s world has been turned upside down. Well, sort of. Parallel? Horizontal? Jace isn't quite sure where her world is, but she is in a world where nothing and everything is familiar. It does seem to be somewhat parallel, but in this one humans make up less than 1% of the population – but she, an FBI profiler who is able to track down killers whose minds are so twisted it's unbelievable, is one human that is necessary for the continued survival of this existence. At least, that's the line they are selling her. Who might "they" be? Vampires and werewolves and golems, oh my! Er, I mean, Mineral Americans…

Violently torn from her home and bed, Jace is confronted with the NSA vampire Director David Cassius. When her gun, one of her most prized possessions, does little to no damage to him, she is stunned. Aware she isn't dreaming, she sets down her laptop and gun and listens. According to Cassius, there is an insane human on his world who is savagely and cruelly murdering vampires and werewolves, and his people are unprepared to profile such a case, not having dealt with any kind of illness before because their kind are immune.

Jace, however, is difficult to convince. Thrust into a world where her people are a minority, she doesn't understand why she should be forced into saving the lives of creatures she considers violent and mythical--creatures not of her world! But Cassius points out--or pointedly doesn't (hehe, puns intended) that without helping these people, Jace is stuck where she is, and by helping them she'll have a job, place to live, standing in the community, and a chance to return to the world where she belongs. If she refuses, they can turn her out without a word and leave her homeless and penniless in a place where she is easily dinner.

The resources available to her seem endless once Jace determines where to start with the investigation into the brutal killings. The acts take place world-wide, and only Jace has made the connection of the integration of races in the killings. The video of the first one goes viral during the act of the second one, and so on. All of this helps, and when Jace heads to the scene of the 3rd killing she is able to find out more in 2 days than the NSA has found out in the weeks since the first killing. But will she be able to capture the killer before he reaches his final goal? Or will she be swayed towards his cause for humans after hearing the tragic past of the races of this world?

I was impressed with the new world presented to us by Barant. It isn't perfect, by any means--most firsts aren't, but Jace is definitely an amusing, intelligent, and forthright protagonist. Her one-liners are LOLs. Having Charlie as her partner was a perfect foil, and the cast of characters is one that you can picture in your mind easily--a cross among all the forensic shows on now added in with the vampire shows. I'm interested in seeing where the series goes--as well as the character development--in this new urban fantasy addition.

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