Thursday, 20 August 2015

Book Review: Dire Straits by Helen Harper (Bo Blackman #1)


Bo Blackman is a rookie private investigator working for the London based firm of Dire Straits. She doesn't often get triber-based assignments, which is just as well. Vampires and daemons don't interest her as much as humans do. However, when she has to serve a summons on a dodgy daemon called Devlin O'Shea and she ends up saving his life instead of being framed for his murder, her life takes a shocking turn for the worse. And when the vampire Families start involving themselves too, Bo no longer knows where to turn...

My Review:
Bo may be a rookie P.I but even she senses something wrong when she finds herself in a room with a seriously injured demon she was sent to arrest and armed police about to arrive. Getting her target to safety is one thing, working out who tried to kill him and who wanted to frame her for murder is another. Is it someone she worked with at the agency? Or someone connected to her grandfather's past? And why are the Vampire houses suddenly so keen to recruit her?

The book starts as an on-the-run investigation, where Bo and O'Shea need to share information to discover why they were targeted. I thought their working relationship had potential and had hoped to see more of it. However the plot changes when the Vampire Houses come into the story and Bo's investigation. Bo is asked to join a Vampire House as a new recruit to try and discover who in the House is a traitor. If she can survive the initiation and a month of Bloodlust without drinking human blood, she can remain part human and still have a reasonably normal life. If she drinks blood during the month she will become a vampire, a thought that scares and horrifies her.

I liked the initiation, and meeting the others who join along with Bo, all for different reasons. She is torn between having these people as new friends and viewing them all as suspects. Bo is also unsure whether she trusts her vampire contact Michael and finds his ever changing attitude to her frustrating and annoying, hindering her investigation at times. Bo is also driven by the fear of becoming a vampire and struggles to resist the blood that is on offer through the initiation month. There is a lot of interest and a lot to like in this section of the book and the reader gets to play 'guess the traitor' along with Bo.

I liked Bo as a character. All she wants to do is clear her name and get away from the vampires but being prime suspect in multiple murders means that only a Vampire House can protect her and Michael's offer is about the best that she can hope for. Her fellow recruits are a good bunch of characters and I liked her relationships with them. Peter, Beth, Nicky and Nell added to the story as Bo had to interact with them as part of her job. I particularly liked Azro. Michael got on my nerves half the time. Why would you hire Bo, make her go through the change to part vampire which she doesn't want and then declare you don't trust her as she might be a traitor? I wanted to slap him at that point!

Overall I liked the book. It had a strong plot, interesting characters and potential to become a good series. For me the one thing that didn't seem convincing was setting up the potential relationship between Bo and Michael. I wasn't feeling any chemistry with them and I don't see it working. Still, there was enough here to get me to look at book two.

Read in January 2015.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

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