cryptshiverRating: 2.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novella

Two years ago, Grissom’s work partner, Ender, left without explanation, leaving him to search the vampire out until one of Ender’s servants showed up to let him know Ender was okay. But now Ender’s back, with no explanation for his disappearance, and just in the nick of time. A body has been discovered in the cemetery and not just any body, a skinless body. Ender interviews the crypt keeper, but doesn’t get much out of him other than a jumbled explanation about a skeleton. Even though Ender is certain the keeper is keeping something from him, he doesn’t push.

Grissom all but hated Ender when he left and now that he’s back, Grissom can’t seem to make heads or tails of his feelings. He wants to hate Ender, but that’s almost impossible. Then he wants to make him jealous, which is easy. But easier than that is falling back into the easy partnership they’d always had. And even though they’d never acted on their feelings, that didn’t mean they’d dissolved with Ender’s disappearance.

Two years ago, while pursuing a rogue warlock, something happened to Ender—one moment he was fine, the next he was suffering the uncontrollable hunger of a newbie vamp. So he left. He went to his maker—a mob boss of the paranormal world—for help. What he got was useless and no help whatsoever. Now he’s back in Dallas, working alongside the one man he can’t get out of his mind.

When the skinless corpse comes back to life, Ender and Grissom know something beyond the ordinary is going on and they set out to find the source before it finds them. But when old cases meet new, secrets are revealed. Secrets that may end their partnership and lives before they even realize it.

I am a sucker for a good paranormal setup and this one is good, albeit poorly executed. When the story opens, we meet Grissom—brooding werewolf paranormal cop (sort of). And then we meet the mysterious and secretive Ender—a vampire and a paranormal cop as well. Sexy and mysterious meets growly and grouchy usually hits all my buttons (especially the growly part) but this one fell flat for me. CryptShiver is a story about a missed opportunity and the second chance to make a lasting connection. But there were so many things that were lacking with this story that it was hard for me to pay attention in order to really like it. And I promise I wanted to like it so badly.

First, there are the characters. Remember that I’ve already give my likes, okay? But there’s so much more to these guys and their history as partners that is simply skimmed over. It’s like we’re supposed to believe that they’re friends and that they are all lusty for one another, but until almost the very end of the book they don’t get along. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good enemies-to-lovers story, but these two aren’t exactly enemies, and to hear Grissom tell it, they’re not friends any longer. So, Ender left two years ago without a word. Well don’t feel left out Grissom, it’s not explained very well to readers why he left either. The author gives only the Cliff’s Notes version of the time Ender disappeared. So, yes, it’s just as frustrating to me as it was to Grissom. Maybe even more so, because I certainly wouldn’t have slept with him until I’d heard the whole story. *grins* And Grissom is supposedly this big playboy, but we really only ever see him flirting with one character in hopes of making Ender jealous.  But why would he need to make Ender jealous if they never slept together? See, there are things that just don’t add up.

Okay, some of my annoyances. This story is not what it could have been, for definite lack of planning. For example, when Ender is introduced, he starts calling Grissom “Avi.” It threw me for a loop for a few chapters. In fact, for a while I thought it was a typo—like the author forgot to search and replace all the Avis. And then, finally, in like the third chapter I found out that Grissom’s first name is Avi… not Grissom. And then there’s Grissom and Ender’s relationship. When the story begins, the author alludes to a prior relationship between Grissom and Ender—like Grissom is heartbroken because the man he loves left him without a backward glance—but then suddenly it’s said that they never had a romantic relationship. Not only that, but they never even told one another of their unrequited feelings. This story could have used better planning.

Next, the world. This world is very promising, but—and this is a big but—there’s so much left out of it. It’s like the author just expects readers to know what is going on without explanation. Like what exactly are the Regulators? What purpose do they serve that the human police don’t? Why are they necessary? And what are magic slingers? Why are they bad? What makes them bad? Eventually, I got it. And maybe this is just a personal peeve, but I don’t want to have to think too much or search for the meanings of things while I’m reading. I don’t want things to be presumed, especially in a new world. I like when the author lays it all out there for me so that I can picture the world in Technicolor.

The one plus, and the thing that kept this story barely floating for me ,was the ending. The secret of Ender’s hunger is very well played. I honestly didn’t see it coming until it was right up on me. But even then there was so much to distract me, my focus was all out of whack.

So in the end, yes, I wanted to like it, but no, I didn’t. Not so much. This story was very promising, and I have high hopes for this author in the future, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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