Blood Pact (Blood Books)

Blood Pact  - Tanya Huff This is the fourth and strongest of Huff's series. This isn't the last, there's one more, Blood Debt, but this feels like the series conclusion with the last an afterthought. Like many works of urban fantasy, this involves a tough heroine who moves in a supernatural world. However, unlike characters such as LK Hamilton's Anita Blake or Harris' Sookie Stackhouse, the central character of this series, Vicki Nelson not only isn't superpowered--she's handicapped--losing her sight, forcing her to leave the police force. She makes a living now as a private investigator--helped by Mike Celluci, who is still on the Toronto police force. Oh, and Henry Fitzroy, who happens to be a 450 year old vampire--and based on a real historical figure, Henry VIII's illegitimate son. Otherwise Henry is along fairly traditional vampire lines. Super-strong, nearly unaging, needs to feed on human blood, sleeps during the day. No sparkle, no animal to call or mysterious sexual powers, but one of the good guys rather than a monster. And he's solitary because of a vampiric territorial imperative, so there's no vampire society to play off of. So the appeal of the series is more the relationship and romantic triangle as Mike and Henry vie for Vicki's affections and their various adventures dealing with the supernatural. The first book involved demons, the second werewolves, the third mummies--and now in this book it's zombies--with a Frankenstein twist. The personal stakes in this one are high for Vicki. Towards the beginning of the book Vicki learns her mother died. And when a friend of her mother wants one last look and they open the casket at the viewing, they find someone has stolen the body. I felt tremendous sympathy for Vicki in this book. She can come across as abrasive, and she's so stubbornly independent it nears recklessness at times. In the book before this one I was finding myself not liking her much. She gains a lot of ground back in this book, not only because we learn things about her that make her more understandable, but Huff portrays the whole process of grief and loss so well I found myself very much identifying with her and her loss. Of all the blood books, this was the one that was the most moving. Although I agree with those reviewers who devoutly wished that Vicki would get her glasses better fitted and that someone would cut off Mike's curl before we have to hear about it one more time...