Blood Trail (Vicki Nelson, Book 2)
Penguin Daw (US: 25th September 2007); Hachette Orbit (UK: 4th November 2004)
Canada’s supernatural is further revealed to a former homicide detective – and current private investigator – in this second instalment of the Vicki Nelson series. Whereas Blood Price dealt with demons (as well as introducing continuing vampire character Henry Fitzroy), Blood Trail explores the society of werewolves in rural Ontario.
In short, it’s twisted: even in human form, wer behaviour is quite animalistic – the growling, the possessiveness…and the high risk of incest. It makes for uncomfortable reading as Vicki and Henry settle on a London farm to find out who’s been killing Pack members. Religion is an issue, and it’s not surprising that there are gun-toting Americans. Since I’m unfamiliar with 1992 North American life, I can’t be certain whether that’s social commentary or not, but it sure is now in 2008.
Vicki’s a wily, likable character, with a medical condition that makes her stand out from the archetypal urban fantasy heroines populating the genre with their sameness. But I much prefer homicide detective Mike Celluci to Henry, for the simple reason that Mike seems real to me – and not just for his Italian swears. Readers are probably supposed to fancy the vampire, but Henry lacks spark. His flashbacks don’t add much to the novel except for pages, and the scenes from the killer’s perspective spoil the element of mystery. Thus this paranormal procedural lacks thrills, and whilst the world-building is original, the overall novel left me feeling nonplussed.