There are two factors in my review of this novel; firstly the story and secondly the narration. This is my first audiobook, other than trying Alexa for reading. The genre and scope of the story just hit the mark with me in terms of this being a mystery thriller involving a serial killer, and an element of paranormal horror.
Amy Bree has a unique analytical mind for seeing patterns and connections, and with her computer whizz colleague Ralph, they’re employed by the FBI to study crimes and criminal patterns. Ralph introduces them to the files of a particularly gruesome serial killer, nicknamed the Blood Sucker. Being a little frustrated at their office roles they attempt to advance this particular investigate by themselves. Their research and investigation ability is spot on, but their ability to operate in the field is found wanting to devastating consequences. While they track down the Blood Sucker in the middle of another horrific attack they realise there is something more supernatural about his ability, and they are ill-equipped to deal with his extraordinary power and speed. It costs Ralph his life and Amy is lucky to escape with hers as he seemed to have let her live. This unsanctioned activity costs Amy her job.
A few weeks after losing her job, Amy is approached by a very mysterious Monsignor Cancelli from the Vatican and offered a job with Homeland Security to track down the Blood Sucker. Amy is given access to whatever she needs and Cancelli seems to have no limit to the authority he carries even within the FBI and NSA. Amy is partnered with an older lady, Katie, another computer genius that has developed a system in advance of anything currently in use. As they dig into the details of the Blood Sucker and his kills, they realise there is a common pattern and a reason why he is selecting his victims.
The hunters become the hunted and the background to the Blood Sucker opens up into a world of non-humans – traditionally known as vampires. Eric Gates’ exceptional take on the vampire story is unique and very engrossing. There is an opportunity in the story to explain the background behind these creatures and that Bram Stoker’s, Dracula was based on some evidence of actual events. While this is a supernatural novel, there is a very clever ability in the writing and plot, to bring this round to wondering, what if it was true.
This is a non-stop action-packed story that is totally enthralling with wonderful detail on the use of IT technology for spying and counterintelligence. The characters are brilliant and the guilt Amy feels over the death of Ralph, feels very real. Katie is a super character and it’s so good that a woman has been given that particular role. While she may be old and speaks with a cultured English accent she’s a real deceptive, kickass, feisty woman.
Marnye Young narrates this audio version and does a brilliant job, I’m now a strong advocate for audiobooks. Marnye has a naturally melodic voice that is relaxing and comforting to listen to. From Amy with a natural US accent to Katie with a cultured English accent, from Cancelli with an Italian accent to other characters with Eastern European accents, and from female to male intonations, Marnye is just fabulous. It would be very off-putting and cringing to listen to bad attempts at various international accents but that is never the case in this audiobook. I love you Alexa, but never again am I going to ask you to read me a book – I’ve been spoilt and there’s no going back.
I would like to thank Eric Gates and Marnye Young for providing me with a free audio version of this book, in return for an honest review.