Barb & J.C. Hendee,
(Roc, 2003)

Dhampir is a wonderful read with an unexpected twist -- exactly my kind of book. I would like to see this book developed into a series. The characters are interesting and it is easy to care about them. When you reach the end, you feel rather let down because you want it to continue, even though this is a lengthy book when compared to the "average" mainstream novel. It has 374 pages.

This is the story of a woman who found an easier way to earn a living. Magiere's mother died during her birth. Her father disappeared with her mother's sister. She never knew him and could not learn anything about him except that he had a bad reputation among many villagers as an evil person.

Magiere left home at a young age and learned to depend upon herself for survival. After almost starving to death twice, she figured out a way to prey upon the villagers' superstitions. She would enter a town and explain that she was a vampire hunter. She would rid their village of the evil beings that caused death but it would cost them an extreme price. Her scheme became quite elaborate, with fake blood and battle wounds.

When a half-elf named Leesil attempts to steal her pack, she cuts him in on her scheme. He will play the evil vampire. They stage mock battles for the villagers and quickly move on their way once Magiere collects the payment.

Things work well for them for four years, but Magiere grows tired of traveling and being forced to steal away in the night. She has been saving money and watching for a place to settle down. Her real estate agent locates a pub and makes all the arrangements for her to buy it. She plans to do one last job before telling Leesil that she's quitting the scam. But a real vampire spots Magiere coming through the village and attacks her, forcing her to kill him. His fellow vampires want revenge and her troubles really begin. The fakery is over and Magiere finds she is forced to deal with the real thing. Worst of all, the vampires live in the same village where Magiere has purchased the pub. She unknowingly traveled straight into their lair.

I cannot tell you anything more without ruining the book for you. There are several subplots woven into the primary story. This book offers it all: mystery, suspense, romance, intrigue, humor and even a brave wolf dog to love. It will keep you turning pages and anxiously seeking answers to all its mysteries. In the end, things are resolved to satisfaction but left in ideal condition for a sequel. If you like a good vampire or strong suspense story, get a copy of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait to read more.

Barb and J.C. Hendee are both college English teachers and published writers. They have worked together before, but this is their first full-length novel collaboration. Barb is the author of Blood Memories.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 22 March 2003

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