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Murder in Vein by Sue Ann Jaffarian
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The story opens in the middle of Madison Rose having been kidnapped after her late night waitress shift. She is rescued from her abductor and finds herself waking up later in an older couple's home. She quickly puts together her memories from the night before and realizes this quirky couple happens to be vampires. They are only two of a Los Angeles community of vampires who are investigating a string of young women being abducted and drained of their blood. They believe Madison was an intended victim, but they still don't know who is behind the murders and why they are happening. The vampires are determined to find who is committing the crimes and pressure Madison to assist them by posing as bait. Not to worry, she will have a vampire back-up. What could go wrong?

Madison Rose has had a rough life, no family and experienced abuse while in the foster care system. She is attempting to make a life for herself as a struggling waitress going to college at night. She has learned to be tough, so she keeps her softer side hidden. Doug and Dodie Deadham, the elderly vampire couple who save Madison appear to be perfect grandparents... if it weren't for the refrigerated blood. LAPD Detective Michael Notchey is a live person who is also indebted to the Deadham's. He helps to keep the Vampire and human worlds in their respective realms. The Vampire Council of California has several members on the Board: Powerful Samuel La Croix is the Chairman of the council, Stacie Neroni is the Vampire attorney, Colin Reddy is the Vampire Don Juan with a few others sprinkled in too.

As part of the investigation, the lurid side of vampire clubbing and vampire wanna-be groups is dived into. This has some disturbing elements of humans who fantasize and romanticize vampires so much that lancing a person and drinking the blood is considered erotic. This dark world is portrayed with a scary side. Just enough detail is provided without being dark and gross. The irony is Madison has been brutalized growing up in the foster-care system and maybe in dire danger by these human pretenders while she is moving among actual vampires who are trying really hard to live like humans and not animals they can easily revert to. Other than the vampire club world, the world of Vampires and their self-governing culture is portrayed realistically. I found the characters to be well developed, flawed, and interesting. No sparkly or even highly romanticized vampires here. They are good and bad with real vices and baggage.

The general idea is sound for the murders of these girls in a world where vampires exist secretly. The investigation is believable for the story. The pacing had me flipping pages, so good job there. The killer reveal was tense and the subsequent fall out is sobering. The wrap-up changed Madison's life and was heart-warming.

For me personally, I found this superior to the Sookie Stackhouse books. The character Madison Rose far and away spoke to me more and seemed more intelligent and savvy. The world of the Vampires with the council and their own justice system is a developed idea executed well. I really like the murder and investigation, which was the primary focus. This is definitely an adult series that I found more satisfying than Sookie Stackhouse because of the murder investigation aspects. I think fans of Tanya Huff's Blood books and Charlaine Harris' True Blood/Stackhouse books will find a kindred spirit in this series.

Rating: Near Perfect if you enjoy gritty vampire fiction - buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.

Obtained Through: Personal purchase

Please join me at my blog, Mysteries and My Musings
http://mysterysuspence.blogspot.com ( )
  AFHeart | Dec 27, 2014 |
This is the first book I've read by Sue Ann Jaffarian. In fact, I'd never heard of her before, but this book was promoted as a Kindle Daily special for $1.99 so I tried it out. It's not something I would likely have bought otherwise.

A good cast of characters, and the story itself was decent enough, but the ending was fairly predictable. I'm glad that the ending wasn't a cliff-hanger, because I just haven't got the time right now to get myself into another urban fantasy series. This series seems like it may turn out quite good, but at this point I'm sticking with The Hollows and Mercy Thompson. ( )
  CurrerBell | Feb 26, 2013 |
Madison Rose has just moved to LA and is making a life for herself, when she's grabbed by a serial killer. When she's rescued by vampires, she's somewhat freaked out! Then she finds out that the guy who grabbed her is just a flunky for the real killer, a vampire wannabe, and now the vampires want to use her as bait to draw him out. Madison just wants her life back, but nothing will ever be the same.
  AwesomeAud | Feb 24, 2011 |
Another quick foray into the adult world...I'd forgotten how much fun the paranormal mystery could be. This was a quick read, but a mostly satisfying one. I liked the interplay of the different characters and the way the world kept shifting to show the darker aspects underneath. I didn't care for the heroine's abrupt shift to trusting the vampires. Um, hello! Yes, they saved your life - but they're perfectly willing to kill you at any minute as well. Little mind control going on here? But other than that one quibble, which is kind of required in a vampire story, it was perfect and I'm looking forward to the sequel.

Review copy provided by Midnight Ink at ALA Midwinter
  JeanLittleLibrary | Jan 31, 2011 |
Gagged, beat up, and trapped in a forest. That's how readers meet the street savvy waitress Madison Rose, and it's as terrifying a start as it is interesting. When she thinks her biggest fear is the psycho that put her in that position, a dark figure with fangs emerges from the forest and rips her captor apart. "We'll have to kill her," is the first thing he says and the last thing she hears that night.

When Madison comes to, she finds herself in a beautiful room. An elderly woman vaguely fills her in about what's going on. After Madison fixes herself up and eats, she goes to the kitchen and sees the elderly woman and the dark figure -- who is also elderly in appearance and no longer a dark figure -- drinking thick, red liquid.

Meet Dodie and Douglas: The first vampires introduced and definitely not the last.

However, Dodie and Doug are the least of Madison's concerns, though bloodsuckers certainly are. On the one side, there's wannabe vampires; on the other side, there's real vampires. Smack down in the middle, operating as the link, are cases of missing women. Had Doug not rescued Madison, she'd be another statistic.

Now it's up to Madison. Can she help the real vampires stop the fakes?

I finished "Murder in Vein" in six hours, and that was during a busy day full of school work and studying. It had the right mix of comedy, seriousness, and adventure. Romance lingers in the background, but it never threatens to take over. Sue Ann Jaffarian adds a little more to the vampire's way of living and makes them neither too dark or too innocent. There's a respectable in-between.
____________________
My name is Tiffany Cole, and I'm a book reviewer for Suspense Magazine. I am also an aspiring young writer. Savior of the Damned, the supernatural/dark urban fantasy novel I've been writing and editing for five years, is one step away from the agent/publisher hunt. You can find me in many places:

writergirllw@yahoo.com
http://www.rhemalda.com/public_forum/
tiffanyrambles.blogspot.com
http://suspensemagazine.com/
thesavior.tk
http://tinyurl.com/27x9sdz {My Facebook}
  TTCole | Dec 1, 2010 |
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Book description
Who -- or what -- is prowling the streets of Los Angeles in the dead of night?

Vampires. Vam-pires. Real live -- er, dead (undead?) -- bloodsucking vampires, living in the City of Angels. Madison Rose, a street-smart twenty-something waitress, would never have believed it -- until a vampire thwarts a vicious attack against her by appearing in the nick of time and finishing off her assailant in one tasty bite.

Madison has been saved by the vampires -- or has she? She learns that women have been reported missing, their lifeless bodies turning up drained of blood. Now the murderer is after her. As the violence escalates, Madison, LAPD Detective Notchey, and a cadre of alluring and dangerous vampires search for the true killer -- while Madison keeps a wary eye on the skittish and thirsty vampires. Will she survive to see the light of day?
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The sight of the blood covered fangs exploded from her deep memory like a ball through a plate glass window. The man had bitten Bobby, torn into him like a barbequed rib on the Fourth of July. Vampires. Vam-pires. Real live--er, dead (undead?)--bloodsucking vampires, living in the City of Angels. Madison Rose, a street-smart twenty-something waitress would never have believed it--until a vampire thwarts a vicious attack against her by appearing in the nick of time and finishing off her assailant in one tasty bite. Madison has been saved by the vampires--or has she? She learns that women have been going missing; their lifeless bodies turning up drained of blood. Now the murderer is after her. As the violence escalates, Madison, LAPD Detective Notchey, and a cadre of alluring and dangerous vampires search for the true killer--while Madison keeps a wary eye on the skittish and thirsty vampires. Will she survive to see the light of day?… (more)

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