Blood Vice by Keith Melton
Book 1, The Nightfall Syndicate Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Year: 2009 (December 1, 2009)
Format: Paperback, 280 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60504-441-5 (Samhain Publishing)
My Copy: eBook received from author
Mafia hit man. Vampire. The criminal underworld just got a whole lot darker.
Business has never been better for hit man Karl Vance. Boston is awash in mafia blood, and Vance has a certain fondness for blood. He’s a master vampire—one of the most powerful of his kind. Having sworn to never again feed on the blood of innocents, Karl preys instead on Boston’s criminal underworld. Which makes him a valuable asset to those who deal in death.
Maria Ricardi intends to use that asset to its full extent in order to gain power within her patriarchal crime family. Vance thinks he’s been hired to keep track of the family’s princess, but she’s got a plan to get her hands dirty and earn the respect she deserves. And she’s not above using their instant attraction to get what she wants.
That driving ambition draws the attention of a rival clan’s newest and most dangerous “consultant.” Alejandro Delgado, Vance’s centuries-old nemesis. Delgado zeroes in on the one chink in Vance’s armor—his fondness for the headstrong Maria.
When she becomes enslaved by Delgado’s unnatural kiss, only one thing is certain. Vance has to decide which he wants more. To settle the score—or rescue her soul.
Blood Vice by Keith Melton throws you head long into the dark, cruel world of the mafia crime syndicate filled with fascinating characters, starting on page one. I loved the mafia elements and dark, gritty atmosphere in the book. The romance between Karl and Maria unfolds at a slow pace, with the right amount of tension however is more of a subplot instead of a main attraction to the story. The story is told alternating between the main characters Karl Vance and Maria Ricardi's point of views, but for the most part you hear from Karl. The plot moves at a smooth pace with plenty of suspense and intrigue to keep you interested.
The vampires in this world are both beautiful and terrifying, with a cruel streak. They are not the romantic kind with souls that you see a lot of now a days in the realm of vampires. These vampires are very close to how vampires are traditionally betrayed in horror. They can tolerate no sunlight, they are damned and are the ultimate predator. There are many more traits with one that has an added spin, that I found very unique, but you’ll need to read for yourself to find out.
Karl Vance is dark and brooding, and very self-sufficient in his lucrative business as a mafia hit man. He has the air of a man/vamp who can handle anything that comes his way with confidence and efficiency. He’s also use to being alone and wears his loneness as his own albatross. Maria Ricardi is an Italian mob boss's princess of a daughter, use to getting what she wants, when she wants it. I didn't really like Maria very much when I first met her in beginning of the story because of her self-serving attitude and being so intent on gaining respect from the mob family - at any cost. She came across as being too cold in her emotions and I wanted to see more warmth. But she grew on me as her character developed throughout the story, especially when it became clear that Maria would be the ideal match for Karl.
Alejandro Delgado, is the ultimate bad vamp with the stench of dread surrounding him. He will give you the creepy crawlies along with his terrifying minions because you’ll only expect the very worst from them.
I’d like to mention a character that caught my attention, Xiesha. Karl saved Xiesha from the Order of the Thorns, a secret sect that guards humans against supernatural beings, and she has since guarded Vance during the day while he sleeps as repayment. There was so much mystery surrounding her character, that I'm absolutely intrigued by her and her past. I hope to learn more about Xiesha in the next book.
I really enjoyed reading Blood Vice and I’m looking forward to seeing what's next in the Nightfall Syndicate series. I think anyone looking for a dark urban fantasy that borders on horror, would find Blood Vice an exciting and enjoyable read.
The Nightfall Syndicate Series: