Author: Elizabeth Noble
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 200 Pages
Category: Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: Four men join a paranormal secret organization to fight crime!
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: Meet the newest members of the Vampire Guard, where legend and myth meet science and technology.
Jonas Forge, vampire. Once a spy and soldier, now a cop, Forge enjoys the life he’s built with his friends in Flint, Ohio.
Blair Turner, PhD. Blair, a vampire and computer hacker with exceptional skills, shares a powerful empathic bond with Forge, his soulmate.
Declan, vampire, ex-pirate, ex-fur trapper, thief, and con man. Declan is Forge’s former lover and soulmate to Lucas Coate.
Lucas Coate, MD, Flint’s medical examiner. A werewolf living amongst vampires, Lucas is also one of Forge’s best friends.
Their lives become complicated when an impending Presidential visit throws them headlong into a world of high tech vampire spies and espionage. Recruited into the Vampire Guard by the secret society of the Akhkharu Nasaru, they uncover a werewolf terrorist organization known as the Qiguan.
Together they must thwart a murder attempt on the open waters of Lake Superior while tracking a previously unknown biological weapon controlled by the Qiquan—a weapon which may very well mean death for one of them.
Review: This story was a great setup to a series. We have four intriguing men—three vampires and one werewolf—living together (with other roommates), who are asked by a secret organization to save the world. They all, of course, have a unique knowledge base and different skills in infiltration, information gathering, and physical prowess, but what makes them invaluable is their relationships with each other. The four men are composed of two bonded pairs, a sort of special connection exclusive to the paranormal, and the secret organization who hired them wouldn’t even consider them as potential partners until they had bonded. Interesting….
Most of the novel was spent setting up backstory and the relationships between the characters, with some nifty puzzles for them to solve to show how well they work together. Quite a few are characters introduced, with complicated dynamics, but I was supremely impressed with how Noble made me feel as if each one was important. In order to make it easier to digest, she did limit the point of view characters to two, Forge and Lucas, which helped immensely. As I was reading, I wondered if she could have limited the POV to just Forge, but that was more of a thought experiment than an actual critique.
Declan, a centuries old vampire, was probably one of my favorite characters. He’s a fussy sort, kinda naughty, and very scary when the mood suits him. Of the four, he lives most outside the box. His relationship with Forge, who actually isn’t his bonded partner, was supremely interesting to me, and did cause some jealousy among their mates. However, if anyone had spent as much time with each other as those two had, they would also have an irreplaceable relationship with that person, no matter their past (in this case, tensions could have been a bit higher than expected because Forge and Declan did have a sexual history with one another—wowza).
As for the bonding itself, there was a lot of referencing to it, but I’m not certain I could tell you what said bond actually entails. A bite is involved, for sure, because these bonds happen between werewolves and vampires (and whoever they choose as a mate, human or paranormal), but other than that? No idea. How do they know they’ve found “the one”? Chemical signaling? Love at first sight? Noble mentions vampires used to be human before turned, but werewolves are a separate species, neither human nor canid, so whatever the bond is, it’s complicated and not necessarily “magical”. I have more questions after reading than answers—I love it. I’ll definitely be waiting for the next book.
There were quite a few pop culture references which alluded to the genre of this story. It’s very akin to the X-Files, and there are some superhero vibes to it, a la League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It’s clear that although we’ve seen the origin story for this dynamic group, we haven’t seen the origin stories for our four heroes, which may be even more intriguing. I’m looking forward to them.
On a heat scale, it’s pretty low, but this is a DSP Publications release, so I wasn’t expecting sexy times when I went into it. These characters are also in established relationships, so despite some drama here and there, there isn’t a romance hook, which I really liked about the story.
If you enjoy urban paranormal or spy novels, superheroes, or the X-Files, I’d check this book out.
You can buy Code Name Jack Rabbit here: