Jane Yellowrock really is a well done urban fantasy series, and this latest installment delivers in almost every way. It's well written, with a smart plot, and intricate story telling. The world-building is good; the continuity is great; and the characters are fleshed out and sympathetic.
As the story begins, Jane's beast is still bound to master vamp Leo, and it's just one of many reasons she is depressed. She's still sad about her break-up with Rick; she misses her lost friend Molly; and she is devastated by Bruiser's betrayal since he helped Leo forcibly bind her. Basically, the only good things in her life are Eli and the Kid. But things start to turn around when she decides to take an out-of-town job in Natchez with her new back-up crew.
There are still plague-infected vamps floating around Natchez as well as some Naturaleza vampires who like to suck their victims dry. And more than 100 humans have gone missing. Jane agrees to work for Hieronymus to root out the errant vampires. She quickly discovers it won't be a simple mission. Somehow, the vamps have mutated into monstrous hybrids that are very difficult to kill. Not only that, she has a personal connection to the problem.
Shortly after she arrives in Natchez, Jane is greeted by Misha and Bobby, who both attended the group home where she grew up. Bobby is mentally disabled and Jane always had a soft spot for him. Misha helps care for him as she raises a sick daughter and is trying to write a book on vampires. She asks for Jane's help, presumably to help care for her child's medical bills. But once she goes missing, Jane feels like she owes it to Bobby and the little girl to bring her back home.
The plot is complicated, but it's not murky. As Jane digs to uncover the mystery of the mutant vamps, we learn more about the vampire origin story; the witches get involved; and of course, Jane's skinwalker heritage plays a role. And in the middle of all of this, Bruiser and Rick end up front and center, representing their own interests in cleaning up the Natchez mess.
This is the only part of the story that didn't work for me. This is like the love triangle that never really gets off the ground. There's angst, angst, and more angst... with absolutely no payoff. Jane wants both men at the same time that a relationship with either guy is impossible. She's hurt; she's jealous; she's depressed, angry, and miserable. And... nothing. No movement. I feel like a hamster in a wheel with her love life.
Everything else rocked. The action is great. The dynamic with Eli and the Kid is great. I loved Bobby and the tender feelings he evoked in Jane. I loved the resolution with Evan. I loved the explanation on the mutant vampires. I loved the holy water cannon. I loved Beast. The book is really very good. But I am hitting critical mass on the romance angle. Fish. Or. Cut. Bait.
Rating: B+*ARC Provided by Roc