Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Case of the Choirboy Killer - Mark Julian, Vampire P.I. Book 1 - Review

Mark Julian is New York’s only private eye for the supernatural. He has a job to do, one that includes not getting romantically involved with humans. Until a feeding frenzy on gay men crosses his path with irresistible Detective Vincent Pasquale of the NYPD. The paranormal world is about to collide with the human world, in more ways than one… 

My Review:
3.5 stars

This was an interesting introduction into a fascinating world for me. I’m not normally a huge mystery fan, but something about this one just grabbed my attention. I will definitely keep reading the series from here on out, if only just to see how Mark and Vinnie’s relationship grows. I loved seeing these two interact with each other; the tension building between them was fun to see and left me feeling a sense of FINALLY! when they got together. Their banter with each other was great, and I liked seeing how they solved the mystery and got the job done.

As for background characters, this book has a wealth of secondary, tertiary, and other characters. I love Jaime, he/she cracks me up and is the perfect sidekick for both Mark and Vinnie. I can’t wait to see what happens with Jaime in future books, because he/she is a character that deserves to be explored. I also really liked Tortego, who seems like he could grow to become a very interesting character.

The story telling was interesting to say the least and worth talking about here since it could potentially turn some readers off of the story. For one, there are a lot of narrative flashes to the future, reminiscent of the description sometimes given at the end of a movie about what happened to the characters after the movie’s end. And some of the flash forwards were on tangents that are then never mentioned again For example, after the death of one of the victims, we get a flash to his family placing missing person posters and ends with “His mother would grow old and die waiting on that dream to come true.” I didn’t really find these distracting, more an interesting story telling device showing the author’s writing style.

Another interesting style choice was that there are also lots of internal dialogues, which I didn’t mind since I like knowing what’s going on in a character’s head. However, I did have an issue at times with how needlessly violent the book could get. One of the flash forwards in particular was just very odd in that it ended with a surviving victim murdering his boyfriend because he did something that reminded him of the killer, and then just jumps right back into the story like nothing happened. It was odd and jarring how events like this happened, especially since they were not relevant to the plot. So I’m not sure if the author included these to purposefully try and jar the reader or develop a certain tone, but it didn’t always work for me.

I did enjoy the chapter titles though, as they provided hints at what was to come and I thought they were a nice little touch that added to the story. However, I was not a fan of how the victims were portrayed. Normally in a mystery, I don’t mind following a victim’s final moments, especially when they’re interacting with the killer because it can provide clues about the killer and where the story is going. However, most of the victims followed here were creepy and disturbing, so it was hard to feel any sympathy for them (except for poor Jordy). For example, why was it important to know that several of the victims were okay with hurting and even raping their partners in such detail? I understand explaining how the victims and the murderer met, but beyond that, I don’t know. Yes, it was a bit of poetic justice where you had these total asses who had the tables turned on them, but I thought it was a bit of an odd choice for the story, especially since Mark and Vinnie never learned about what asses the victims were. I kept thinking this would somehow come into play, maybe in the murderer’s justification behind why he killed them, but it never did. It just seemed like superfluous information that wasn’t necessary and brought the story down in my mind, mostly because at the end I was left thinking WTF?

All in all, I had a bit of a mixed reaction to some of the story telling elements and plot twists, but overall, this was a very intriguing series introduction. The author definitely has his own writing style, which I admire, even if I’m not always such a fan of it. I will definitely continue reading this series as I can’t wait to see how the characters grow over time.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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