Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
I normally prefer my vampire romances on the lighter side. Give me a Katie MacAlister or Lynsay Sands and I'm happy. Of course, it could be I prefer those two authors because they have quite distinct narrative voices. Those vampire romances don't sound the same as the other hundred or so published every year.
After reading glowing praise for the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward, I decided to take a chance on a 'serious' vampire romance. I was immediately struck by how very unique--edgy-- the writing was. While Ward's stories are a far cry from the almost giddy stories by Sands, they are just as distinct in their style. The urban feel, language, grittiness made me feel like this was truly a cross between a police procedural, a fantasy novel, and a vampire romance.
It's a rare book that lingers with me longer than a day or two. I read so many. This one left me not only thinking about it, recommending it, but also seeking out the next few in the series.