PALE IMMORTAL by Anne Frasier
Pale Immortal by Anne Frasier (aka Theresa Weir)
This review is a toughie. Let me start by saying I'm a huge Theresa Weir fan, so I had expectations before I ever opened the book. I was looking for a similar voice and tone that I had come to expect from Ms. Weir's books. That wasn't the case. In fact, I don't believe I would characterize this book as a romance at all.
Here's a blurb from the author's website:
Welcome to Tuonela, a sleepy Wisconsin town haunted by events of 100 years ago, when a man who may have been a vampire slaughtered the town's citizens and drank their blood. Now, another murderer is killing the most vulnerable...and draining their bodies of blood.
Evan Stroud lives in darkness. The pale prisoner of a strange disease that prevents him from ever seeing the light of day, he lives in tragic solitude, taunted for being a "vampire." When troubled teenager Graham Stroud appears on Evan's doorstep, claiming to be his long-lost son, Evan's uneasy solitude is shattered.
Having escaped Tuonela's mysterious pull for several years, Rachel Burton is now back in town, filling in as coroner. Even as she seeks to identify the killer, and uncover the source of the evil that seems to pervade the town, she is drawn to Evan by a power she's helpless to understand or resist....
As Graham is pulled deeper and deeper into Tuonela's depraved, vampire-obsessed underworld, Rachel and Evan team up to save him. But the force they are fighting is both powerful and elusive...and willing to take them to the very mouth of hell.
Back to my expectations...with childhood friend Rachel Burton, back in town as Medical Examiner, I thought there would be more developments in the relationship between she and Evan...romantic ones. And, I have to say Evan's character certainly has lots of fodder for a different sort of dark and misunderstood protagonist. But I was disappointed this wasn't explored more and the characters while interested in one another appear to be disinclined to take too close a look at how they feel for one another. Aargh!!
Anyway my problem with PALE IMMORTAL is that while it is a well written book and had characters I was interested in and liked, I kept wondering why these people were hanging around this horrible town? While I can understand Rachel returning because her mother was sick, I just didn't buy her leaving a successful and interesting job in LA to return to weirdsville Tuonela. The town(s), for there are two Tuonelas, are actually like an additional character in the book. A character we don't understand and has many more mysteries than what we see on the surface.
While there were elements here that could certainly keep you guessing, I didn't have any problem solving the mystery by about a third of the book in. Evan and Rachel are supposed to be pretty smart people and I got irritated with them overlooking the obvious. I did very much enjoy Graham Stroud and his internal dialogue. I thought Ms. Weir did a great job with him.
This isn't a book to read if you are looking for a traditional HEA, and maybe that's what's bugging me. I haven't decided whether or not I'll read the next book in this series. However, I am nothing if not curious so I suppose nosy Nora that I am will have to check it out.
BTW, the link on Theresa Weir's name is to her back list of books and if you can lay your hands on them they are all pretty damn good. AMAZON LILY is a revered favorite on my keeper shelf.
I told you at the beginning this was a toughie. I can't really decide if I liked this book or not.