The first books I read by Tanya Huff were her Valor series, which I loved. It had humor, action, and a strong female hero. Blood Price also has humor, action, and a strong female hero, so I should love it too, right? Wrong. But let’s talk about the story first.
Vicki Nelson used to be a homicide investigator. She was good at it and loved it, but quit because of bad eyesight that was only getting worse. So she became a private investigator. She gets hired by a college student to look into the death of a classmate/lover, and along the way partners up with a [non-sparkly] vampire and learns that demons are real. This book is not Supernatural though.
Yes, there are supernatural elements and humor and fight scenes, but it left me underwhelmed. Since the vampire, Fitzroy, is nocturnal and doesn’t interact much with Vicki, the author tries to interest you in him with flashbacks of his past. I didn’t care though, and skipped over most of them. Vicki has what is described as a “stormy” relationship with Mike Celluci, meaning they scream at each other 90% of the time and have sex the other 10%.
The villain is pitiful. Not in the sense that he’s a worthless villain, but rather that I almost pitied him. I understood his motivations, and while he was creepy, I kinda felt bad for him by the end. I’m not sure if that was the author’s intention or not.
The book was decent, I finished it, and I intend to read the next one, but that’s partially because book I have is a 2-for-1 deal that has both Blood Price and Blood Trail. Hopefully the next book is bit better though, because after the Valor series, Blood Price was a bit disappointing.
So, about the villain. Norman Birdwell is an oddball. He’s the sort of person that, if one day they snapped and did something drastic, deep down you wouldn’t really be surprised. That’s Norman. He wants to be liked, to fit in, to get a girl, but instead he gets laughed at and shrugged off. Repeatedly. To his face. And then he starts summoning demons, making the demon steal cool things for him, and when he still doesn’t get the girl, he orders the demon to kill.
I got the feeling that maybe Norman wasn’t aware that when the demon he summoned needed to “feed” it was actually killing, because when he finally gave it a direct order to kill it seemed like a big deal. That makes Norman even more pitiful, because that means he wasn’t an intentional killer at first. Granted, the fact that he thought summoning demons was an any way a good idea is not a point in his favor, but it doesn’t seem like he started with malicious intentions, but rather was corrupted by the power he was trying to control. Almost more of a victim than a villain. And since I can’t tell how much of this is intentional on the author’s part, it makes Norman a bit of a problem for me.