Thaddeus Dupont is a vampire living in New Orleans. He’s also forced to be a demon hunter by a group of White Monks who, in exchange, promise him salvation. You see, Thaddeus is gay and believes himself to be a sinning abomination. However, he’s fallen for his male personal assistant, Sarasija Mishra (it’s kind of a long story, and you can read about it my review of the first book in the series, Vespers). Thaddeus feels a tremendous amount of guilt over having a gay relationship, so he prays twice a day, every day, morning and night (the Vespers and the Nocturne, of course). When he’s feeling especially guilty, he even flagellates himself with a cat o’ nine tails. Still, he wants Sara, and he wants to please the young man. This is how they wind up at a Mardi Gras party thrown by the wealthy family of one of the monks, Brother Michael.
Sara is thrilled to be able to attend this party. In the half year he’s been Thad’s assistant, he’s only gotten to do a few things he would consider touristy. He knows Thad is only humoring him, and that makes Sara love him even more. Here, at this huge house in the middle of New Orleans, he gets to wear a fancy mask, drink expensive champagne, and meet wealthy and interesting people. While he’s with two of those people, there’s a scream and a fuss. The unique and most beloved matron of the family keels over and dies right in the middle of an anecdote about something she’s encountered during her wild and crazy life.
Brother Michael immediately knows it’s a murder, rather than natural causes, and summons Thad and Sara to find the killer. The search leads Thad, Sara, and Noheah (Thad’s business manager) into a world full of supernatural beings, eccentric people, and danger. Throughout the investigation, Thaddeus tries to fight what he calls le monstere, his baser side who wants to claim Sara in, shall we say, a more primal way.
As I did with Vespers and the Christmas novella Bonfire, I loved this book! It was exciting, atmospheric, unconventional, and sexy. It has a sort of Southern Gothic feel to it, and that makes it all seem eerie, from the description of Thad’s houses, to the shops on Bourbon Street. I chose this series because I have a love of vampires…all kinds of vampires. If you’ve ever watched True Blood, you’ll understand the ambience and world building given to us by Preston and Rancourt. It’s equal parts dark and beautiful and it’s fun. Basically, you just open the book and hold on because you’re going for a ride.
Now, I don’t want to give away the whole plot, so I have to be careful of what I say. I’m going to start with Thad and Sara. They have a chemistry that will grab you and suck you in (no vampire/blood pun intended). What started out as a convenience became something different. I love their dialogue, their silent looks, and the way they both alter their lifestyles to accommodate each other. Along with that, there is a fair amount of angst, especially on the part of Thad. Sara is all in, though. He loves Thad passionately, and is willing to go so far as jumping in and taking on violent demons if it means being with his man. I admire dedication like that, and I’m a sucker for a deep, forever sort of love.
The mystery in Nocturne is well plotted and I was hooked from the moment it began. I knew it wasn’t going to be something as simple as food poisoning and I couldn’t wait to find out happened. The potential killers were plenty, and I could see a link to the victim from all of them. The two people who played the biggest role in the story (aside from the MCs) are a set of twins people call Jo-Jo…Josef and Josephine. On the surface, they’re only goal in life is to receive as much pleasure as the can…money, fast cars, drugs, sex…you name it. They’re the niece and nephew of both victims, and they seem to have an unnatural attraction to Sara. It’s explained in the book, but it’s much to involved to get into here.
There’s a good sub plot involving Nohea that began in Vespers and continues here. While it’s important, it doesn’t take over what’s happening in Nocturne. The authors have achieved a nice balance. It ties the books together, so while Nocturne can be read as a standalone, I don’t recommend it. It would be so much easier for you to be able to know who’s who, and all their motives for what they’re doing.
I want to give a small mention to the religious aspect of the story. Thaddeus was on his way to becoming a priest when he was bitten. Along with the homosexuality that made him feel like a sinner, the vampirism made him feel like an absolute abomination to God. The White Monks capitalize on that and use him as their weapon against demons. They continue to offer to “save” him, and his desire for salvation is so deep, he’s willing to do everything they ask. I call it a severe case of “Catholic Guilt,” and believe me, I totally get that. This aspect of Thad’s personality is very interesting, and truthfully, I’d rather know more about him and his past than who’s killing who, and who’s summoning the spawns of Satan himself.
Nocturne is amazing. When you finally get to the end, you will feel like you’re stepping off the wildest roller coaster you’ve ever ridden. It’s satisfying to know you’ve read and participated in something really special. I can’t recommend this enough. It’s the perfect sequel to the perfect book. If you enjoy vampires/the paranormal, mystery, unique characters and locations, and a loving and sexy couple, this is right up your alley. Please do yourself a favor and read this amazing book.