With two puncture wounds in her neck, an exsanguinated corpse was likely the victim of vampires…or people who think they are. FBI profiler Sophie Anderson works with the LAPD to investigate the case, and she’s a little too eager to unofficially go undercover, infiltrating the mysterious After Dark group. She’s been struggling to understand her own psi abilities, so maybe that’s why she wants to spend more time with the leader…
This is the fifth novel in the Sophie Anderson series. I’d already read the first two novels, skipped the third (features one of my most disliked tropes), and haven’t yet got my mitts on the fourth. The original Australian trade paperback edition mistakenly labelled Kiss of Death as a “thriller” on the front cover, but I’d put it under the catch-all genre of crime or, more specifically, procedurals. (The thriller element kicks in at least halfway into the novel.) The Aussie mass market paperback cover has wisely removed the “thriller” label, but I’m including this note in case you acquire the earlier version.
It’s never really concluded whether the vampires really are supernatural, or if they suffer from porphyria and/or Renfield’s syndrome. I’d love to read more about these medical/psychological conditions, so hopefully future authors of vampire fiction will continue to explore the science.
While the research and investigation are fascinating, I can’t connect with the characters. As a psychological expert, you’d expect Sophie to know better, to smell a rat, to not fall for a New Religious Movement leader. She shouldn’t be so easily charmed. As soon as we encounter him, Anton Ward’s a sleaze, and thus I don’t get the attraction. Quite possibly the idea that he could share more details of Sophie’s psi abilities could explain the appeal, but only partially. But generally speaking, in fiction alpha males tend to be douchebags, so I never understand their appeal. But I’m likely in the minority, so my opinion doesn’t count 😉