Jeanne C. Stein
Ace, Sep 2009, $7.99
She has been fighting a losing battle to hold onto her humanity, but months old vampire Anne Strong doubts she can much longer. Her parents are sent by Anna’s nemesis to a winery in France with their “grand-daughter” so they cannot be used as hostages by those coming for Anna. She has few friends, but one of them is shapeshifting Culebra who owns a bar in Beso de la Muerte where vampires can feed on willing hosts. He meets her in Mexico her and asks not to visit the bar because he is on vacation and his substitute Sandre wants nothing to do with her. Unable to believe what he is saying, Anna goes to see herbut meets Warren Williams, the former San Diego chief of police and now the chief officer of the supernatural community.
He warns her that six young vampire corpses have been found drained of their blood. Soon after that meaning Sandra summons her to come to the bar because Culebra is ill and may be dying. Before Culebra lost consciousness he mentioned Belinda Burke, an enemy of his, Anna and William. She cast a spell on him and the only way to save his life is to find the witch and kill her. Anna fears she and Culebra will die if she fails to locate the witch. Tracing the path of her enemy, Anna finds more drained dead vampires and a person close to her who is helping Culebra stay alive through magic spells is now near death. Killing Belinda becomes the only sensible RETRIBUTION.
This is a strong vampire urban fantasy entry in a great series (see THE WATCHER, LEGACY, and BLOOD DRIVE) due to the lead professional who has distanced herself for obvious reasons from her family and has joined the supernatural community. Anna continues to explore her new powers as she also treks the dangerous dark world in which beauty is only skin deep is a mantra as the monsters inside are deadly. The world of Jeanne C. Stein is dark, deadly and dangerous; but most critical to readers is her species (vampires, witches, and shapeshifters) seem genuine.