Blood Price (Vicki Nelson, Book 1)
Penguin DAW (US: 25th September 2007); Hachette Orbit (UK: 7th October 2004)
Private investigator Vicki Nelson, like most everyone in Toronto, doesn’t believe in the paranormal, but when it appears that the latest serial killer could be a vampire, she’s out of her depth. Retinitis pigmentosa has already cost Vicki her former life as a homicide detective, and she needs specialised help with this case. Enter historical romance writer Elizabeth Fitzroy, or known about town as Henry Fitzroy, the bastard son of Henry VIII. He’s also a vampire, and as he and Vicki investigate, they realise that a vampire may not be to blame – but a demon and a screwed up college kid are.
Tony, a secondary character, seems rather different from the guy I remember from Smoke and Shadows (published after the Blood series, I think). Henry doesn’t appeal to me in either series, but I don’t know what in particular off-puts me. The scenes set in his past didn’t interest me, and neither did his fiction’s excerpts.
Originally published in 1991, Blood Price holds up well 17 years later, though investigations would have been sped up had the Internet been around. Neither bad nor amazing, the novel has an important role in the history of urban fantasy in fiction. It was around this time that the genre was revived through Tanya Huff, Jim Butcher and Laurell K. Hamilton, and readers – and writers – have a lot for which to thank them.