Dira Lewis introduces her reader to her vampire protagonist, Sin, alone and frightened in a park. He has been released from his torture by the mysterious but clearly powerful Antonines and in his desperation, he hides himself under a bridge to shoot himself in the head. Sin is not stupid enough to believe that this will be the end of his vampire existence; in his captivity – starved of blood, conditioned, and tormented – Sin has lost the essence of himself and in holding a gun to his head and pulling the trigger, his intent is to merely regain some control.
When Sin meets Dominic, he is ready to drink the teenager’s blood, only to be reminded that if blood is spilt the Antonines will find him and he will be taken back to be punished. Dominic is in a similar frame of mind to Sin. His mother is unconscious in hospital and he is living and coping on his own, whilst his sister is being cared for by their grandparents. Dominic almost immediately recognizes Sin’s blood-drinking nature. Yet it is when the two unite to kill another vampire that night in the park that Sin realizes just how deeply himself and Dominic are connected.
Lewis does not make this an easy journey for Sin and Dominic. Sin is without a Court, a master, or a mistress, and it is not only the Antonines who wish to claim him, particularly because of his feelings for Dominic. Danger lies ahead and the question is whether Sin and Dominic can survive, and if they do, will their love?
Gun to My Head was not a story I felt compelled to read in one sitting and because of the way in which Lewis develops Sin and Dominic’s characters, I doubted at times whether I cared about their fates. Their evolution is a slow progression throughout the novel. I initially felt that Dominic conformed to the stereotypical “weak human” role seem in so many vampire stories: totally infatuated and willing to do anything. However, I was so glad I stuck with Gun to My Head when I reached the point Lewis fully reveals Dominic’s bravery and determination, at which he becomes the one to save Sin.
Sin’s characterization is more complicated because of his vampiric nature. Sin does not always have control over his decisions, which makes him unpredictable but, in my opinion, it is his tenderness and devotion to Dominic which really binds the reader to him.
As I have already suggested, Gun to My Head has certain similarities to other well-known vampire novels. Honestly, when I read the word “imprint” in relation to the connection between Sin and Dominic, I baulked. It is true that Lewis’ definition of imprint is slightly different to Stephanie Meyer’s, but I found it difficult to get past the connotations of the word and this did have a detrimental effect on my enjoyment of the story.
The last seven chapters of Lewis’ novel are by far the best and worth waiting for. Lewis packs in romance, sex, tension, and even the question of a possible sequel into this final section. Here, Lewis ties so many threads of Gun to My Head together and I had so many “ah ha” moments. Although readers should be warned that from chapter 19, the pages just don’t turn fast enough!
I had reservations about Gun to My Head and though I would not recommend that this is a novel to rush out and buy, I do think that it is worth keeping in mind, particularly for those who like the vampire/human romance trope.