Blood Trail (Blood Books)

Blood Trail  - Tanya Huff Somewhere in the course of this novel it occurred to me why I became so attached to this series; it all has to do with an old television series--not the one adapted directly from Huff's, which I've never seen. Rather, this reminds me strongly of Forever Knight, a series about a centuries old Vampire, Nick Knight on the Toronto police force. In a way Huff one ups that old series--Henry Fitzroy isn't merely a knight. He's based on a real historical figure, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII of England who died in 1536. But there are even these little flashbacks into Henry's past sprinkled throughout just as on the old show. In these books though, the vampire is almost more a sidekick than a lead. The focus in these books is a human, Vicky Nelson. She's the one who was once a Toronto police officer and is now a private investigator. She's more Anita Blake than Sookie Stackhouse. Prickly, independent and strong-willed to a fault, she's dealing with retinitis pigmentosa which is slowly stealing away her sight. It's one thing I rather like about the character--that instead of having superpowers like her sisters in urban fantasy, she's all too human and dealing with a handicap. I like this second book a tad bit more than the first. The first introduced us to a present day vampire. One that is no monster, but doesn't sparkle or turn into a bat either and like traditional vampires has his own handicap--he can't come into the light. Otherwise he has plenty of literary counterparts from Buffy's Angel to Yarbro's St Germane to Nick Knight and Huff's take doesn't stand out. But this volume deals with werewolves, and there I do very much like Huff's take. The Heerkens family are hereditary werewolves living quietly on a sheep farm. And someone evidently knows their secret--because members of their family have been shot down when they're in wolf form--with silver bullets. The Heerkens are by no means human, but are an imaginative extrapolation of a wolf pack combined with aspects of the ancient legend. Each member of the family is a distinct character, and I agree with the reviewer who called six-year-old Daniel (Shadow) adorable. Here's a bit early on that gives you a flavor of Huff's take: The sound of claws on linoleum shifted Vicki's attention back into the house but it was only Shadow coming down the stairs and into the kitchen. He sat in front of the refrigerator, had a quick scratch, then changed so he could open the door. "Ma, there's nothing to eat." "Don't stand with the fridge door open, Daniel." He sighed but obediently closed it and Vicki marveled at how universal some things could be... "If you're hungry why don't you go out to the barn and hunt rats?" ... and how universal some things were not. So mystery, urban fantasy, the continuing triangle between Vicki, Henry and Vicki's old friend (and conscience) police detective Mike Celluci. It makes for a fun brew.