Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Audiobook Review: Raphael by D.B. Reynolds

Series:     Vamps in America #1
Pub. Date:July 7, 2014
Publisher:ImaJinn Books
Narrator:Traci Odom
Length:8 hrs 32 min
Source:Author / Audible

I have had this series on my TBR list for quite a while, so I was excited to see an audio review copy available as audiobooks are really the only way I get to my "personal" TBR these days. Traci Odom did a fairly good job with the narration... she is able to affect believable male voices and did a good job at conveying the correct emotion for the various situations. Some of the characters were a little stiff - but it worked to go along with their vampy nature.

Cynthia Leighton is a former cop turned private investigator, who also has access to a good deal of money from a family trust fund. She has a bratty jealous half-sister who she probably should have kicked to the curb long ago. As a PI, Cyn is often trailing after cheating spouses... but she also has the occasional vampire client. It seems that in this world (modern Malibu), vamps are not a well-kept secret. Cyn is a capable PI, she takes her client confidentiality seriously and is not afraid to gear up from her arsenal when the situation may require it. When Cyn is hired to find a kidnapped vampire, it may be her most dangerous job yet (in more ways than one). Unfortunately Cyn has a penchant for running off half-cocked and getting herself into trouble... this didn't jive with her type of character for me (as former LEO) so I had some eye-rolling moments when it came to Cyn.

Raphael is one of eight vampire lords of the United States. He is tall, dark, powerful and broody - a vampire that you do not want to mess with. When someone close to Raphael is kidnapped by a mixed group of vamps and humans, he makes the decision to hire Cynthia to assist with the investigation. I don't think he quite expected her to be better at the investigating than his vamps... and I know he didn't expect to be drawn to her romantically.

I'm not sure how to characterize the relationship between Cyn and Raphael. There is chemistry there, and they are drawn to each other... so much so that they end up bonking in the middle of a shootout. [Sigh.]  But there are obstacles preventing the relationship from really moving forward... and those obstacles are mainly coming from Cyn. I found her to be both obtuse and judgmental. For an investigator, she was quick to jump to conclusions without even trying to uncover the truth. Raphael had a hot and cold thing going on once or twice, but overall I found him to be much more willing to engage than Cyn. I will warn you that
The titles for the series threw me off. I thought this was a straight paranormal romance series with a different couple each book, but it appears that this series is a paranormal/urban fantasy blend where one couple will be constant with others sprinkled in.

The suspense plot was pretty good... and typical for the vampire trope. A disgruntled and power-hungry vampire is trying to take over Raphael's territory, but he underestimated the vampire lord. Most of the plot involved the investigation rather than the vamp-on-vamp battle, which was over pretty quickly. I wouldn't have minded to see Raphael in on the action a bit more, as he was the more engaging character for me.

Overall, this is a good start to the series, and I am glad that I finally started it.  I am looking forward to seeing whether Cyn exercises more street smarts and common sense in the next installment. I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Vampires in America