Rating: 5 stars
What are the odds of a rather cool, aloof, and adopted son of Dracula who loves to spout famous quotes and pieces of poetry falling in love with someone who actually does the same? I know…you’re still back at the “adopted son of Dracula” part, aren’t you? Well, let’s try another then. What are the odds that Dracula would adopt a child after his wife slaughtered the same child’s parents? If you are beginning to see the rather outlandish premise of all this then you are definitely ready to move on to the next little tidbit and say hello to Megan Derr’s novel, Dance in the Dark.
Johnnie Lightgood is a modern day Hercule Poirot, minus the mustache! He also happens to be the adopted son of Ontoniel Desrosiers of the Dracula Desrosiers, a “normal” living with a vampire. Are you getting the idea that this is not your typical gumshoe detective story yet? Johnnie, an impeccable dresser, is very reserved yet brilliantly deductive. Along with the help of his friend Rostislav he sets out to solve mysteries in the “abnormal” world.
If this is your first foray into Derr’s series, then you will need to understand the lingo before going any further. “Normals” are regular human beings. “Abnormals” can be anything from a vampire or werewolf to an imp or witch. If you can dream it up, Megan Derr has put it in her world…and what a world it is! Full of one tantalizing mystery after another, Johnnie decides to leave behind his posh digs with his father and a “brother” Elam, whom he secretly lusts after. Elam is slated to be married and it is this knowledge, that Ellie’s (as Johnnie calls him) wife is to come live in the manse which pushes Johnnie to find other arrangements. While on a case that affects a bar owner, Johnnie decides to rent the upper floor apartment and live there on his own.
Of course if you are the famous Dracula, you have more than a bit to say about that! Hence the bodyguard sent to watch over Johnnie—Bergrin, a mystery in his own right.
And so Johnnie sets up shop so to speak and takes on various cases from missing husbands to enchanted wives who turn out to be imprisoned in a rose bush…the stories are unique and each chapter contains it’s own little gem. Woven throughout, however is the bigger mystery; that of the lover who appears only in perfect dark. A man who has captured both Johnnie’s heart and his curiosity…a man he calls Eros. Johnnie steadily falls in love as one erotic encounter after another unfolds. The delightful unraveling of this mystery lover toward the end of the novel is perhaps just short of genius!
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I simply could not put it down! In this the second installment of Derr’s Dance with the Devil series and it is by far the best! The characters, their depth and their ability to draw from the reader a genuine desire to see them cared for and watched over was just lovely! The smaller mysteries wrapped inside the larger one was just delightful to unravel and immerse oneself in. I highly recommend this novel to you!!