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Jul 02 2017

A Review of Tall, Dark and Deadly by Kharma Kelley

Tall, Dark and Deadly by Kharma Kelley

Tall, Dark and Deadly by Kharma Kelley

One of the things that I’ve had problems with in the past has been the appearance of characters that are partly vampire and partly incubus, or succubus, in their nature. It comes to there never really being given a lot of thought as to how that works, exactly. Sometimes however, there’s an explanation that makes sense, creates some interesting questions and leads towards the telling of a story that’s something quite unexpected.

A review then of the first work in a series by Kharma Kelley in which there’s so very much to love. Well written, complex plots and two main characters that are amazing and along the way, the background of each makes sense and that, more than anything, made things more than I had expected them to be.

The work tells the story of:

Chloe Hunter can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Incarcerated by The Bureau after running amok for a century with a gang of vampires, grifting and terrorizing humanity, she’s ready to make up for her dark past. Luckily, when The Bureau would rather see her at the end of a wooden stake, in comes her new straight-laced boss, Ethan Raines who’s got other plans for the enthralling ex-con. An enigmatic vampire who finds Chloe’s hybrid blood and sexy street prowess too irresistible to pass up, Ethan requests The Bureau to release her into his custody to protect the streets of New Orleans. Now, her debt to society is to punish other supernaturals who break the law and bring them to justice.

When Chloe’s old gang involves her in a plot to unlock a mysterious box of woe, she’s forced to make some hard choices that threaten to betray the trust of the man who’s given her a second chance at life and love. Ethan may have his work cut out for him in Tall, Dark & Deadly, the first steamy blockbuster in the Agents of The Bureau series!

Chloe’s made some decisions in her past that she’s not proud of. There’s been a cloud over her and when she comes face to face with Ethan, that cloud starts to rumble. Ethan’s trying to help her, but Chloe’s never been able to really trust someone. When push comes to shove, it’s not only Chloe that’s going to have to trust, Ethan will have to find a way to trust himself around Chloe.

The work mainly focuses on Chloe, her past and the situation she finds herself in. The plot is very complex, having several subplots, red herrings and in being so, while there are moments of passion and joy, its the little hints around the edges that caught my attention. As this is the first work in the series, there’s a lot of world building going on, and for the most part there’s just enough of that to hang the plot on. However, there are quite a number of characters, races, and past incidents that are glossed over a bit too much for me.

One of these comes to Ethan, the incubus of this work, and his past. While he explains, to a point, what he is, how things came to be, there’s little detail and the moment goes by in a rush. Part of that comes from the situation, there’s a need to get through this part as quickly as possible, but in the same way, a flashback, or something, to explain some of the connections he has would have, I think, given more depth to his background.

Ethan isn’t a stereotypical incubus, nor does he have horns or a tail. But around that, his powers are well through out and not seen in a way that’s expected. I liked that because it makes him unique and interesting. In the same way, the short reasoning as to why he came to be offered something not often told, which is a really good explanation of how it’s possible to have an incubus/vampire. That’s not always explained well, and knowing the why mattered here.

As a whole, the work is a mystery-adventure but there are a few passages of erotica along the way. As with the rest of the story, they are well written, aren’t silly or crass. There’s delicious heat, a real connection between the characters, and the consequences of each moment aren’t forgotten later in the work when they really do matter. There’s no rush for the erotica to come to the climax and that give time for the characters to make the connection between them.

The buildup to the climax of the work tells a deeply involved story, which I liked. When that moment comes, it’s a bit rushed, but overall there’s meaning to it, there’s a point as to why things happen that draws a lot of the plot threads together well. The conclusion however draws in a lot of new characters at the last moment and I wished there’d be more time to tell those stories. They matter to Ethan, there’s a lot of past to be explored, but those moments are summaries and that leaves a lot of questions never brought to answers.

Overall a lovely story, the main characters are wonderful, the story is well told and the heat ties things together well. While Ethan is an incubus, and there are moments of he being so, it’s more of a vampire story than an incubus one. But Ethan’s incubus side isn’t forgotten and matters, so there is an incubus story here, a unique one that I did enjoy.

Four out of five pitchforks.

A fun story that has some moments of suspense and wondering what comes next. I liked both Ethan and Chloe very much, but I really do wish there was more told about Ethan’s past than there was. That said, there are incubi in this universe, and a mention of succubi, so perhaps that will mean we’ll see a succubus appear sometime.

I think that would be interesting, especially if Nathan has to deal with her, or she deal with him. Or for that matter, what Chloe would do.

 

Tera

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