Jenna Black,
Watchers in the Night
(Tor, 2006)

Private investigator Carolyn Mathers had convinced herself, after her fiance left her at the altar, that he had died -- until the night he rescues her from a mugging. Gray James' reappearance plunges Carolyn into a bizarre world filled with vampires, which Gray has become. But not all vampires are evil killers; there are also the Guardians, who choose not to prey on humans, but instead protect them from others of their kind. Gray is caught between, neither Guardian nor killer. When he is accused of murder, Carolyn becomes his only hope.

With Watchers in the Night, Jenna Black has dispensed with a few of the traditional trappings of vampires, giving us a new take on the same old undead creatures. Not necessarily in the matter of vampires protecting humans -- with such television offerings as Forever Knight and Angel, that's become an established part of vampire mythology. It's the little things that we tend to take for granted as part of the mythology that are different: native earth, no entry without an invitation, garlic.

Black also treats us to a well-plotted mystery. Just who is the serial killer known as the Broad Street Banger? That the killer is a vampire seems obvious. Suspicion naturally falls on Gray because he chooses not to be part of the Guardians. Or perhaps the Banger is the mysterious Drake, known to be a killer, even though he has chosen to ally himself with the Guardians.

Watchers in the Night is marketed as part of Tor's paranormal romance line, but the mystery is more to the forefront of the story than the renewed relationship between Gray and Carolyn. If you like vampires and mysteries, give it a try.

review by
Laurie Thayer

1 September 2007

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