Damien, by his own admission, was an arrogant teen. His mortal life came to an end one night when he was attacked and woke up having been turned into a vampire. Damien has no idea who attacked him, and in the 20 years that has passed, he has yet to see another vampire. He lives a solitary and isolated life and his only pleasure his stalking his prey.
Danny Crawford is young and when his dominant and abusive father finds out he’s gay, conversion therapy is offered up by the local priest. Danny doesn’t see a way out until Damien is put into his path. Damien has no idea why Danny’s struggles move him so much and he takes it upon himself to make sure that Danny is safe and away from the influence of those that seek to harm him. And although there is a current that runs between them, Damien refuses to take things any further.
Watching Danny from a distance is what Damien feels is best for the both of them. But even as Danny becomes a successful model and then dates, he longs for the security Damien offered. But Damien is watching and when violence threatens Danny once again, Damien knows he will never be able to walk away.
This is a debut book and I like to take chances on new authors. It’s a definite roll of the dice and sometimes the roll lands in my favor and other times the house wins. I have found some great new authors this way, but I am unable to put author Paul Comeau into this category. I’m also finding it more difficult to deconstruct this book for a review because…it was a mess and a true struggle to get through.
The premise of this book is what captured my attention and specifically the fact that Damien was a contemporary vampire. He had only been a vampire for about 20 years, which was a different spin then what is usually seen. Then there was also the guardian angel aspect that piqued my interest.
The style of the writing didn’t work for me at all. It was dry and was similar to reading an essay. From chapter one there was head hopping. The majority of the book is told from Damien’s POV, but for every character he came in contact with, the POV would slide over to them often mid-paragraph, mid-thought, only for a sentence or two before it would slide back again. There is a chapter early on that opens from Danny’s father’s POV and he was telling his story, only for us then to be abruptly in the head of Danny’s mother where she was then telling her story. It made for disjointed and headache inducing reading.
Damien is the main focus here and while I certainly don’t need or even want my vampires to be likable in a traditional sense, there has to be something compelling to make you want to read about them. Damien was bland and not engaging. This may have been due to the fact that the style here was mostly telling with extremely limited showing. It never came off the page why Damien was so moved by Danny’s plight. We were told, sure, but that’s about all. Everything from the men being attracted to each other, to Danny’s home life, to his modeling career, to his boyfriends, we are told all of it and we are barely shown any of it. The exception being Damien’s sexuality, which is never explored. It was then impossible to bridge a connection to either character. And as far as this being billed as a romance, there were barely any romantic elements shown. While their bedroom door did remain closed, there was only a passing reference to them having been intimate, so the status of their relationship was then not quite clear for a good portion of time. But even then, there was no familiar intimacy shown between the characters to illustrate that they were even in love with each other. Again, we were just told that it was so.
The language in the book was also off for me in some places. Damien is a contemporary, that was the original draw, yet he would suddenly start quoting Shakespeare and Bible passages and it didn’t fit in with his character. There was also no defined passage of time and when it would seem like a good portion of time had passed, it was then stated that Danny was still the same age as in an earlier scene. There was also a larger plot here with moving parts surrounding another priest and Danny’s father and, well, none it worked for me, including the fact that Damien never ever knew of another vampire. The book is also broken into two parts labeled Danny and Damien, but there was no noticeable difference between the two and why it was split was never made clear.
If you are a reader that buys by the cover, this was another failing of this book for me. Danny is described as having shoulder length, blonde curly hair and becomes a fashion model as he is the most beautiful boy to ever have been beautiful. I can’t even recommend that you disregard this cover for the story inside as the overall execution was simply lacking for me. So I took a gamble on a new author and this time the odds were not in my favor.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.