Always

Bliss

The Brat

The Key

Lady Pirate

Love is Blind

The Loving Daylights

A Quick Bite

The Reluctant Reformer
Single White Vampire

The Switch

Tall, Dark and Hungry

What She Wants

 
Vampire, Interrupted:
an Argeneau novel

by Lynsay Sands
(Avon, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN  978-0-06-122977-0
**
For several years I've had a Lynsay Sands book in my pile of books to be read. It's not surprising that that pile very rarely diminishes by even one book, but after reading Vampire, Interrupted, I can say that the old Lynsay Sands I hadn't had the chance to get to is a book that will probably never get read by me.

Marguerite Argeneau, the recently-widowed seven-hundred-year-old matriarch of the Argeneau vampire clan, is a new woman since the death of her overbearing and careless husband Jean Claude. She's become a private investigator in her new niece-in-law's firm and is in Europe on a job. She and her partner, Tiny, are trying to determine the name of another immortal's mother. However, meeting their client, Christian Notte, turns into more of a fiasco than a business arrangement. First, Marguerite is attacked in her hotel room. Then Christian's father storms into the room she and Tiny are (platonically) sharing and all but accosts her partner.

Yes, that's right: Christian's father is alive and active in his son's life. He just won't tell Christian who his other parent is or even if she is still living.

It's decided that the attacker wanted to kill Marguerite because of her search, but even this does not entice Julius Notte to reveal Christian's mother's identity. While Tiny and Marguerite more carefully continue their search, however, Julius and Marguerite discover that they are lifemates. In Sands's vampire world, this means that they cannot read one another's minds, they have a human appetite again, and sex makes them pass out. Apparently Julius has had a lifemate before, but Marguerite's husband married her only because she resembled the woman who had been his lifemate back in Atlantis.

Through a fairly aimless series of foibles, missteps, and interactions with characters one presumes were introduced in previous Argeneau novels, it is discovered that it was Marguerite herself who gave birth to Christian five hundred years before and courtesy of some vampire voodoo she doesn't recall that time in York, England, with Julius.

With that mystery solved, the plot moves onto discovering who wiped Marguerite's memories back then, and who is attacking her now. But the question becomes: is Marguerite the true target?

The first thing that turned me away from this book was the amount of space spent on minute details. Things like Marguerite's fourteenth-century couture and her favorite scent of shampoo are given similar importance to her relationships with her children. Aside from age, being immortal does not seem to have contributed anything to the lifestyles of any of the characters, and with the exception of mind-reading, vampire abilities that the paranormal genre is used to seeing are mentioned rarely. The only thing supernatural that affected this book was being lifemates ... and isn't that the entire point of reading a romance novel, anyway? Romance readers don't need love to be destined or fated or magically occurring, and the characters of Vampire, Interrupted certainly make little use otherwise of their otherworldly capabilities.

This is not to say that there were no good points to Vampire, Interrupted. For one thing, the title makes you smile, especially once you realize that Marguerite is missing twenty years' worth of memories, so her life was basically interrupted. Many readers prefer series, and this is an ongoing one, and it is also a family saga that likes to bring characters back for an encore, which will appeal to a lot of people. There are a few ups and downs, but this book is far from an emotional roller coaster and should be a fairly relaxing read. Marguerite being Christian's mother is an interesting twist, even if it is the climax and unfortunately revealed far too early.

Vampire, Interrupted will make fans of fluffy reads happy, and won't turn away more traditional romance readers who are turned off by the more typical paranormal romance. I'm sure this is a must-read for Sands fans, especially those who are attached to the Argeneau family. For people who like their reading a little more pared down, or their paranormal a little more ... well, paranormal, leave this one at the bookstore.

--Sarrah Knight


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