This is the first novel I've read by Mercedes Lackey, and it took me quite some time to get into it.
I was initially put off by the style -- very purple, adjectives attached to every noun (sometimes multiple adjectives), half of each page written as Diana's stream-of-consciousness thoughts, which were equally frenetic when she was standing alone in a shop as when she was having a panic attack. And while it isn't Lackey's fault (her magical butt-kicking heroine predates most others) the whole set-up seemed too familiar by far. It should indeed appeal to Buffy fans, but don't expect it to take the now-familiar subgenre anywhere new.
Then I was put off by a number of items that cropped up that read like anachronisms, whether they are or not. For no reason I could discover, the novel is set in the early 70s, after the Watergate scandal broke but before Nixon resigned in '74. Yet there is a mention of Diana wanting a personal computer -- and I'm pretty sure personal computers weren't available until '75. There's a mention of feeling like being in a Stephen King novel -- but he didn't get published until '73, and I find it unlikely that his was a household name THAT immediately. I grant, the times are close enough that there may have been a week or two in '74 when a person might have thought all those things, but they just READ like anachronisms.
But around 2/3 of the way through, after Diana joined forces with Andre, the plot picked up enough pace that I sped through the rest. Andre was my favorite character, though he doesn't break the ethical vampire mold in any way either, and though I cringed at the way the romance was handled, it was at least blessedly short.
So overall, I have to say I liked the book, but I am very borderline about whether or not to read another.
I love these books! Comparisons with Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake and Tanya Huff's Fitzroi and Vikki are inescapable, but these books came first and one must give Mercedes Lackey her due.
This is one of my favorite fantasy/vampire books. It was published in 1990, well before Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake series and Tanya Huff's Fitzroy series. I think Hamilton culled much of Anita Blake from Diana Tregarde--no disrespect to Ms. Hamilton intended--but c'mon, there's even a sexy French vampire! This story has great imagination, suspense, romance, gore and humor and is, in my opinion, one of Lackey's best efforts. I don't think Lackey is one of the best writers, technically speaking, but you have to admit that her imagination is top-notch!
From the back cover: "The gypsy boy had asked for Diana's help--called on her for magical assistance--and she could not refuse; especially after he was slain practically on her doorstep.
But the vampire Diana finds cradling the body ISN'T the killer. He's the gypsies protector, Andre LeBrel, who informs Diana that there's more than one monster stalking the streets of New York.
Now it's up to Diana Tregarde, Guardian and witch, to find the killers and destroy them; with a little supernatural assistance from a very friendly and very sexy vampire."