Raphael is the debut book in the Vampires of America series by D.B Reynolds, which I found to be a enjoyable read. Raphael, the hero, is somewhat of a tough-nut character. He’s a vampire, one of the powerful Lords, and he lives by their brutal codes without apology. He enforces those codes amongst his people and failure is not acceptable to him, and let me say, he’s one scary dude if you cross him. I think it was his unreservedness in that aspect that sometimes made him not unlikeable, but a character that has many dynamics to him. We see that in a scene at the beginning of the novel, and you wonder what type of characteristics will show up later.
The heroinem Cyn, is a former cop now turned Private Investigator, who caters to the wives or/and husbands of cheating spouses. She also has vampire clients thrown her way in gratitude for saving a vampire who was to be killed. While she knows about the vampire world, she doesn’t want to get involved in the politics and games that are frequently played amongst them.
Cyn has a tough demeanour; she has learnt from an early age to look out for herself and not depend on anyone else. She’s not one of those ball-busters though–the ones that that make you think, oh crikey! We know and see her vulnerability and what makes her tick that makes her very likeable. She’s also confident in her sexuality. She’s not looking for emotional love or commitment. She can accept no-strings sex for what it is and enjoys it.
Raphael is a strong debut I believe. The writing flows wonderfully and Reynolds brings that unique touch that is Hollywood to the story. It has a strong core of suspense mingled with the romance. Cyn is part intrigued by Raphael and the other half is simply terrified. When Cyn’s investigation digs deeper into the disappearance of Alexandra, and the intrigue spirals, we see Cyn in conflict–trying to understand and accept the nature of Raphael and deal with the lust that always springs up whenever they meet. Their relationship has a special dance throughout the book and Raphael’s possessive and protective instincts rears their heads when Cyn gets injured, and he comes to realise she is someone very special. Cyn does a retreating dance with Raphael, one that leaves her confused but wanting him more each time she sees him.
The investigation of the disappearance of Alexandra wraps up neatly, but the relationship between Cyn and Raphael is very much left open, and left unanswered until the new book Jabril is released which is a continuation of the lovers.