Tanya Huff,
Blood Lines
(DAW, 1993)

Tanya Huff has a new horror in store in Blood Lines, her third book about Toronto private investigator Vicki Nelson.

Vicki has already encountered vampires, demons and werewolves, so what's one mummy? Plenty, in the case of the Royal Ontario Museum's newest acquisition.

At first, Dr. Rax, curator of Egyptology, can scarcely believe his luck when he has the opportunity to purchase a sarcophagus for the museum which he is certain contains a mummy. He's right about that, but he doesn't count on it containing the body of a man who was buried alive when it was discovered that he was the high priest for a minor dark god. Moreover, Dr. Rax couldn't begin to imagine that the high priest is still alive and waiting for some unsuspecting person simply to break the spell binding him.

Meanwhile, Vicki is worried about Henry Fitzroy, her vampire friend and sometimes lover, whose constant dreams about the sun make them both fear that he is going to be irrevocably moved to meet the dawn and die. Then Mike Celluci, her former partner on the police force and current best friend and other-times lover, investigates some mysterious deaths at the museum until he is abruptly pulled off the case. Apparently, he is the only person in Toronto who remembers that there was a mummy at all -- except for the mummy himself.

The book unfolds at its usual brisk pace, and the multiple viewpoints add to the tension with some nail-biting cliffhangers. Huff often leavens the mood with a brush of humor, but even these light touches seem to heighten the suspense rather than dilute it. The more that is revealed about Vicki, Henry and Mike, the closer the reader feels to them, which makes the climax of the book nearly unbearable.

Make sure you have a sizable block of time available when you pick up Blood Lines. You're going to need it.

review by
Donna Scanlon


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