Book #4 of Black Dagger Legacy
By J.R. Ward
Read by Jim Frangione
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
(August 13, 2019)
Print Length: 416 pages
Runtime: 12 hours and 52 minutes
As a trainee in the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s program, Boone has triumphed as a soldier and now fights side by side with the Brothers. Following his sire’s unexpected death, he is taken off rotation against his protests—and he finds himself working with Butch O’Neal, former homicide cop, to catch a serial killer: Someone is targeting females of the species at a live action role play club. When the Brotherhood is called in to help, Boone insists on being a part of the effort—and the last thing he expects is to meet an enticing, mysterious female…who changes his life forever.
Ever since her sister was murdered at the club, Helaine has been committed to finding the killer, no matter the danger she faces. When she crosses paths with Boone, she doesn’t know whether to trust him or not—and then she has no choice. As she herself becomes a target, and someone close to the Brotherhood is identified as the prime suspect, the two must work to together to solve the mystery…before it’s too late. Will a madman come between the lovers or will true love and goodness triumph over a very mortal evil?
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Why is this a “storm-tossed tale?” Well together then apart, rich then not rich, untrusting then in-love. This story deals with how one’s fortunes are at the mercy of chaos. Speaking of which – I meant to do this last week but, we had a “Nor’Easter” that snapped limbs and entire trees (even healthy trees), and put much of Maine in the dark, and with9out the internet; it was even hard to use a cell-phone hotspot. Poor Siri was all upset because he couldn’t make a connection! I have a good generator so I could have written a post but it wouldn’t have posted.
Anyway, back to this book, I felt the characters in this book were distant, not in temperament but in the writing. I felt the author depended on type and backstory to tell us about Boone and Helaine. And, that’s okay: I don’t think their story was the focus of the novel. I think the Vampires are simply foils for humans. There’s strong classism in the vampire race, and especially at the top. The bonds of family in the upper class, at his time in their history seem stronger in the lower classes (Helaine) than in the upper class where snobbery and expectations defy the reality of the species. In other words, the vampires are mostly like us but longer-lived and a different physiology. This book makes use of the behavior between the classes to a depth I had not seen in this series; it does remind me of the divide between classes in another series y the same author: THE BOURBON KINGS.
What’s really interesting to me is that the upper class of this species is almost totally segregated from the the lower class — they don’t seem to mingle or meet up. One reason for the divide is a servant breed, the Dogen. They are the class that mostly serves the upper crusties so the upper crusties rarely see those beneath them. It’s interesting as they don’t mix much with humans so it doesn’t feel like a real existence. And, the upper class is always greedy for more money and power. Except for many of the “Legacy” generation. I think Ward may be pointing to the vast canyon in our own society these days.
Another strong theme is self-loathing and hypocrisy. But the revelation of personal specifics, measured against parental expectations. How weird the parental relationship is even when it is flawed and when a betrayal so strong is one’s last legacy to a child. And, that betrayal is how one is rich one day and poor the next.
So, slings and arrows abound in the book which serves as a mystery with detectives working to figure it out. I have to say, the current generation of trainees have much better expectation for women than the last and women in the lower classes have an easier time. I liked how the story leads towards the identity of the perp fairly early, but subtly.
I was a little shocked that Butch, an early character in the series, seems to have gotten more Catholic in his devotion and that’s a little interesting since the vampires have their own mythology. There’s a new breed of bad guys I do not understand; I thought I was keeping up but maybe I missed something.
Frangione seems to read this series with a particular cadence that captures the writer’s style, the bravado of the species, and their love of luxury items without really being caught up in them because they are so accustomed to having them.
In the series, I felt this book was written in a bit of a different style. I would love to know what you may have thought about it.