Rating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novella

John, Caleb, and Gray may have escaped the rougarou, but now they have a new problem — another drakul. Unlike Gray, this drakul is not in a living body. And while it professes to have no interest in harming or eating humans, Gray is not interested in taking any chances with his people getting hurt. He would much rather this new drakul disappear, but John and Zahira want to keep an eye on it and get some critical research from studying it.

The group has to shift focus, however, when a woman from one of Caleb’s vampire tours is killed and Caleb is the prime suspect. Caleb and Gray have sworn to John that they will never again drink from a human, but the man caught on tape is Caleb’s double. Even though John may believe it’s not really Caleb, convincing the police is not as easy.

On the personal side, John is still reeling from what the rougarou told him about his parents — more specifically, that John’s memories of his past and his family are not true. John has no idea what to believe, but new revelations from his cousin, Ryan, have John shaken to the core.

Now Caleb, Gray, and John, with the help of Zahira, must work together on all fronts to stop a murder, wrangle a drakul, and figure out what is happening with John’s past.

Bringer of Night is the second book in season three of Jordan L. Hawk’s fabulous SPECTR series. I am an enormous fan of this series (I read the entirety of season one in about 3 days), so a new installment is always a thrill. This story follows closely on the heels of Stalker of Shadows, opening at what seems like the next morning and picking up on two key storylines and revelations from the previous book — the new drakul and the secrets from John’s past. The new drakul, which they call Night, is unlike Gray in that it’s not in a living body. Also unlike Gray, Night has no emotions, and no real awareness of the world or connections to others. Night is also less of a threat to humans (theoretically at least) than Yuri and Dru. But Gray and Caleb are still very wary. Gray is not at all interested in having his humans put at risk by being near this drakul. Yet at the same time, they aren’t thrilled about having Night wander around the city unsupervised. Plus, no one will be shocked to know Zahira is dying to study Night and learn more about drakuls. What is really nicely explored here is the emotional impact of the new drakul on Caleb and Gray. Yes, they are a little jealous and certainly worried for John and Zahira’s safety. But they are also scared after having to kill the last two drakuls they encountered, worried about getting too close to another one. So there is a nice opportunity here to see Caleb/Gray connect with John and share some of their fears. I am really interested in see how this storyline will play out over the rest of the season, and I enjoyed the sort of sidekick slash “very scary pet” kind of role Night takes on here.

The other key plotline that carries over here is with regard to John’s family. We get some new revelations that I am not going to share, but they definitely left me incredibly curious, as well as confused right along with John as to what is possibly going on. Hawk is doing a great job building this mystery and keeping the suspense high. I really like that it is giving us a chance to delve more into John’s past, as the first two seasons were understandably more focused on Gray and Caleb.

In addition to this big picture elements that continue across books, Bringer of Night also gives us an individual mystery regarding the murder of a woman on Caleb’s tour. It is an engaging suspense element, but it also ties nicely into the relationship between Caleb, Gray, and John. The fact that the killer looks like Caleb and is caught drinking the woman’s blood throws all of them at first. Caleb is worried John will think he really did it, and John is uncertain what is happening. It is bringing up old wounds for all the men from the disaster of Caleb killing the rogue SPECTR agent last season. So this really ends up bringing some closure to that conflict, as well as strengthening the bonds among the men as they move forward.

So for me, this story pulls together an engaging mystery of the murderer, as well as further developing the big picture storylines. Where I felt Stalker of Shadows was sort of setting the stage for the season, Bringer of Night, really starts developing things in interesting ways. I just adore this series and I can’t wait to see where Hawk takes things for season three.