The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
Grade : B-

There are some books that are truly meant to be released in the summer. They are the ones frequently called “beach reading" that are fun, light, and the plot doesn’t require a lot of thought. Molly Harper’s The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires is the epitome of a beach read.

Iris Scanlon is a self-made business woman. Her business, a concierge service for vampires, is struggling, but getting the bills paid for her and her baby sister, Gigi. She has steady contracts and clients and she is becoming a respected name in the vampire community of Half Moon Hollow. When she arrives at her latest client’s house to find him on the floor near death, she knows that this just can’t work out well for her or her reputation.

Cal Calix is a 3,000 year old Mycenaean vampire. He is working for the Vampire Council to determine who is poisoning the faux blood supply that most vamps are partaking in to avoid human blood surrogates. When he himself gets poisoned, he has to depend on his new concierge Iris to hide and protect him in his weakened condition. As Iris and Cal are thrown together at her house through his recovery, the two start to become close and they work well together to capture the bad guys.

This book is fun and easy to like. The banter between Iris and Gigi is very enjoyable and the way that Cal eventually joins in and loosens up enough to partake is quite a pleasure to read. The scene where a 3,000 year old vamp is threatening his concierge’s little sister’s human date is a little bit stale (I think Cal stole the lines from the movie Clueless), but still thoroughly enjoyable. Harper’s greatest strength is in her believable dialogue and the witty repartee that make her characters such a pleasure to read.

Despite the wonderful characterizations, I felt the plot was a little disjointed. The book was wonderful when it focused on Iris, Gigi, and Cal and the way that they adjusted to their shared living situation. However, when the story moved into the poisoning of the blood supply and the evil Council, it lost me. I never really understood how Cal was connected to the Council. At times he seemed to be a member, while at others, he acted like an independent contractor. The transitions between “murder mystery” and “character story” were not smooth and frequently left me lost and wondering just where the story was going. It was like there were two books competing for my attention. One was great, while the other was not.

So the book has some flaws, but it is a perfect beach read. You don’t need to pay terribly close attention to the plot of the mystery in order to enjoy Cal and Iris and that is what makes it work. If you don’t take it too seriously, then you can laugh and enjoy the characters without too much effort. As a beach read, pool read, or general summer fun, you could do worse than The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires.

Reviewed by Louise VanderVliet
Grade : B-

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : August 8, 2012

Publication Date: 2012/08

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