Author: Stephen Osborne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Sequel to Animal Instinct
A Duncan Andrews Thriller
Duncan Andrews, a private detective who specializes in paranormal cases, is back, along with his usual gang. Robbie Church, his boyfriend, is a ghost. Gina, a centuries old witch, is his best friend. And Daisy, Duncan’s bulldog, just happens to be a zombie. Odd man out seems to be Nick, a history teacher. He’s a normal, living human.
Duncan’s latest case leads him to a rock band in Indianapolis called The Scarlet Tide. It doesn’t take Duncan long to realize all of the band members are vampires. He sets out to destroy them, but runs into trouble with the charismatic leader of the band, Dominic Hunt. Duncan ends up under Hunt’s psychic control, and is forced to examine his relationships with Robbie and Nick, as well as his attraction for Hunt. Can Robbie and Gina help Duncan break Hunt’s psychic grip? Is there any hope the vampire can be destroyed once and for all?
Stephen Osborne’s writing continues to charm. But his elegant, bantering style in no way lessens the gentle emotional tweaking we get as we carry on with the adventures of Duncan Andrews, his witch best friend, Gina, his long-dead boyfriend Robbie, and their little zombie bulldog, Daisy.
This go-round the subject is vampires, and while I’m confessedly unhappy with the way Osborne has decided to handle them (I am, after all, a believer in the idea of a good vampire, since my first novel 25 years ago); I can’t argue with Osborne’s consistent, carefully-wrought logic in depicting them. It is, after all, a fantasy world, and each of us is allowed to do what we want.
But, for all the excitement generated by the central thriller theme, these books are always even more fun in their personal story lines. Throughout “The Scarlet Tide” the ongoing poignant emotional tug of war between Duncan and Robbie forms a core plot arc. I suspect there will be some kind of resolution in the final book of the series (which I’m starting right after I finish writing this).
But Gina’s emotional story moves ahead as well, even as her remarkable witchy gifts assist Duncan and moderate his stubbornness. For all that her life is more peripheral in this book, its presence is a key ingredient in the savory stew that makes these novels so appealing.
The larger shift in book three is that of Nick, the slightly hapless guy who Duncan dated a few times way back in book one, and who has become a slightly awkward addition to Duncan’s peculiar little “Friends” group. Nick, a high-school history teacher, moves more to center stage in this book, as he begins to take charge of his part in Duncan’s life, giving Mr. Andrews plenty to think about as he pursues his vampire targets.
Book four should be a pisser. I suspect it will make me cry.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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