Review: Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane

Format: paperback, ebook
Pub Date: 2011
Publisher: Carina
Length: 296 pages
FTC: Free copy courtesy of the publisher at RT14

 I've read Lauren Dane's erotic romances before, but this is the first paranormal book I've read by her. It's an unusual concept: the title is quite literal. The protagonist is a Vampire Hunter skilled with a blade, but she's also a vessel for a goddess. Basically, the person who cleans up vampire messes (crimes) if the vampires can't take care of it themselves: usually by killing the offending vampire. 

I know lots of people are suffering paranormal fatigue, but I'm not there yet. I tend to lean more towards the Urban Fantasy side than the romance side which probably helps...and this book is definitely one where the romance is a smaller part of the novel. A subplot, even, despite the explicit scenes.

Every UF/Paranormal romance claims to be different. Goddess With a Blade isn't completely original, but it has enough new ideas to seem fresher than the majority of other offerings. The goddess angle is part of it, but this also has echoes of the old hardboiled detective stories...with a twist. It's set in Vegas and the surrounding desert, and instead of dames in trouble, the dame is the one doing the investigating. It has the glamor vs. seediness element you'd expect, but just as you get a handle on the type of book this is, Dane throws you another curveball.

 I love mysteries almost as much as I love romance, so I admit I'm a little biased where this book is concerned. It's a serial killer book with vampires, mystical stuff, and some steamy sex scenes. I expected the book to fail on the suspense part, but it really doesn't. Except for one fairly obvious "twist" that I figured out very early on, this book does a good job of moving the investigation forward in a way that is interesting. There's the actual following of clues, talking to sources, pounding the pavement.

My biggest issue is just how little time is spent confronting the villain. It was anti-climatic, really. There were some parts that didn't flow well and some pacing issues (especially when switching from from the detective nature of the book to the political parts) but overall, I did enjoy this. It's not perfect, but it's compelling.

My Grade: B

The Blurb:

Rowan Summerwaite is no ordinary woman. Physical vessel to the Celtic Goddess Brigid and raised by the leader of the Vampire Nation, she's a supercharged hunter with the power to slay any vampire who violates the age-old treaty.
A recent string of murders has her at odds with Las Vegas's new Scion, the arrogant and powerful Clive Stewart. The killings have the mark of Vampire all over them, and Rowan warns Clive to keep his people in line—or she'll mete out her own brand of justice.
Though her dealings with Clive are adversarial to say the least, Rowan is intensely aware of her attraction to him. But she can't let it distract her from her duty—to find and battle the killer before more women die.

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