Friday, July 3, 2015

Renee's Reading: Vigilante Mine by Cera Daniels

Vigilante Mine, by Cera Daniels
Internal Affairs be damned, Detective Amanda Werner's ditching protocol to hunt the vigilante whose bullet landed her on the bench. But this is no vendetta. Evidence suggests he's the zealot offing corrupt public officials--the same zealot who's promised to set the city ablaze by week's end--and she'll risk her career and her life to save her hometown. Too bad she can't find anything stronger than Kevlar to guard her heart against her primary suspect: a masked man with a telepathic German shepherd, unstable supernatural hearing, and lips that invite a whole different brand of investigation.

All businessman Ryan McLelas, a.k.a. Klepto, wants is redemption. But even if Amanda could forgive his itchy trigger finger, Ryan still has to convince her that his alter ego's no serial killer. No small task, with syndicate-paid police officers turning up among the dead. He'd better keep his own syndicate ties close to his chest and Amanda even closer, because if Klepto is unmasked while he's hunting the real killer, their passionate affair could mark Amanda as the next dirty cop on the hit list.

In the interest of full disclosure, I suppose I should start by saying that Cera Daniels is a friend of mine and I was lightly involved in the development of the original idea for this series several years ago. Which basically means I claimed all three McLelas brothers for my fictional harem way before any of the rest of you suckers. Mine!

It also means I've been waiting to read this book for a loooooong time.

That said, even if I wasn't friends with Cera, I would still tell be strongly recommending this book to you. There are so many great things here that work together to make a fantastic read.

Ryan and Amanda are such good leading characters. Ryan has that whole oldest-orphan, I-am-responsible-for-the-whole-world, protective thing going on, which is further complicated by his being a superhero. Sort of. Amanda feels that same call to help, but she's much more practical about it. After all, she opted for carrying around a badge and handcuffs and Ryan is a super-powered version of Batman.

Well, the man is just following the internet's favorite Batman rule. I can't really blame him.

They are fantastic together. Ryan is sexy and charming and Amanda is smart and kicks ass and knows exactly how to call him on his bullshit. The romance between these two developed so well. They complement each other's strengths and weaknesses and are just the right amount of supportive over one another. They have fantastic chemistry together. And the hot sexytime scenes didn't hurt either.

I am saddened that neither of them shows proper respect for the wonders and glories of caffeine, but I suppose no one can be perfect. At least they're together so they won't infect others with their dangerous ideas.

The extended cast was also very well done, particularly regarding Ryan's brothers, Zach and Jay. Since the series revolves around the three of them and their unique super powers, I expected them to be deeply developed supporting characters, but Daniels put a lot of effort into fleshing out their family dynamic and it shows. These brothers are very close. They tease and prank one another, they bicker and argue, they worry and support one another. It all felt very authentic.

My favorite supporting character though is actually the dog. Romeo is hilarious. The talking animal sidekick thing can go very badly, so I was a bit worried. But Romeo was a good partner for Ryan and his presence and connection to the story were very well defined.

Also, I'm a cat person through and through. I'm one of those cat people who talks to her cats and assumes they would do nothing but ceaselessly mock her if they were capable of talking back. And while Romeo has the misfortune of being a dog rather than a cat, but his sense of humor makes up for it.

Storyline-wise, this novel, like a lot of Paranormal Romance, is heavy on the suspense elements. The tension of the story built very well and I enjoyed the occasional peak inside the bad guy's cracked up head. The action runs at a fairly good clip, keeping the pages turning fast without tumbling over into disorienting chaos. I liked the way it all wrapped up too, closing the plot elements central to this story while leaving enough threads to hang the next story on without it feeling like a cliffhanger.

The worldbuilding was well done, slipping relevant information in here and there without being overwhelming. If anything, I would have liked to know more, both about the McLelas's personal backstory and the society they live in. I suspect I'll have most of my questions answered in the future installments of the series though, so I'm not worried. Nothing that I was curious about hindered the storytelling, so I guess it really is true what they say about the reader not needing to know everything.

Except when the reader is me. Because I need to know everything. Pleeeeeeeeease!

Overall I felt this story had excellent characters and a great blend of romance and action. All the elements came together and worked beautifully and I'm very excited for the rest of the series to come out.

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