This was an ARC from Netgalley. And I believe they described it something like “lesbian noir erotica with vampires and werewolves.” And I was all, “Sign me up for that!”

This is the first book in the Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator series.

I love noir P.I. stories. I do. I’m a sucker for it. I love short, sarcastic observations and dialogue. Love it. I could eat it with a spoon. Lucky for me, this book is filled with short, snarky sentences. Kate Kane is a typical hardboiled detective novel character. This is from the jacket:

My name’s Kate Kane, and when an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince came to me with a case, I should have told her no. But I’ve always been a sucker for a femme fatale.

and this:

I’ve got a killer on the loose, a war on the horizon, and a scotch on the rocks. It’s going to be an interesting day.

See? This is not great literature. But it IS great FUN.
The author does a good job with the noir-y, hardboiled stuff. He even gives a nod to Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade character. (Kate Kane, Sam Spade, see? And Kane’s partner is also dead at the beginning and is also named Archer so… homage?) This makes me feel like the author knows what he’s going for with this genre and he’s trying something new with it. New and possibly hilarious.

Now while I am totally in for a noir-y adventure, I will admit right away that I am not the best speculative fiction reader. I knew going in that the vamp/werewolf thing was going to be a toughie for me. I had no idea that it was going to be this tough though, cos it’s not JUST vamps and werewolves. It is also faeries, mages, monsters, witches, a golem, and there was one part where Kate Kane actually punches a ghost or a faerie or whatever, PUNCHES it off of a unicorn and then jumps onto the unicorn and tames it into letting her ride it.

And honestly at that point I wasn’t sure if I was reading the worst detective story ever or the BEST detective story ever. Like I say, SF is not my genre so I really had to remind myself to read this in the spirit of fun and not try to make it anything serious. This book was great fun and by the end I actually really enjoyed the story.

Now while it is a fun read it still had some problems. The first half of the story is slow and a bit tedious. There are way too many characters in it and they all have crazy names, and I found it difficult to remember everyone. The sex scenes were brief and actually not that sexy, so I don’t know why it was described as erotica. But the part that killed me, that made me put the book down and yell out, “Bullshit!” was when Kate Kane buys some food for an informant, and she buys him KFC and a Pepsi Max.

Pepsi Max?

Are you kidding me with this?

Now, this was an advance copy, so maybe that part will change? Maybe it will get changed to a plain Pepsi or just generic soda, whatever. The Pepsi Max took me completely out of the story. I immediately called a friend and we had a discussion about it. It went like this:

“Hey, remember that lesbian noir vampire book I’m reading?”


“The character just bought a Pepsi Max.”


“I know!”

“That’s too…”


I think the fact that a Pepsi Max jerked me out of a story but I was able to (mostly) coast along with the punching of a monster off a unicorn says a lot.

I really enjoyed Elise, the golem. She (it?) added this sweet innocence that the story really needed to balance out Kate’s brash attitude.

This is definitely not like any book I’ve read before, but I was totally able to read and enjoy it for the fun it is. Will I read book #2? I honestly don’t know.

This book is available December 16, 2013 by Riptide Publishing


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